A.J. Ellis couldn’t have timed his hamstring injury any worse. Not only did the catcher miss a huge chunk of spring training, but had to back out of the World Baseball Classic.
He won’t miss Opening Day.
The backup catcher for the Marlins finally returned to game action Tuesday and passed his comeback test with flying colors.
Ellis singled in his first at bat, scored from second on a double, and caught five innings.
“It’s one of those games where you get to check mark off a lot of things,” Ellis said. “Got on base, scored from second on a sure double, blocked some balls. It’s amazing how fast the game is when you haven’t played for four weeks.”
The Marlins signed Ellis to a one-year deal over the winter.
But in his second spring training game with them, he pulled up lame with a hamstring injury he didn’t think would hinder him for more than a few days.
Days turned into weeks, though, and Ellis was forced to sit out the World Baseball Classic. He had been picked to play for Team USA. Instead, he watched the U.S. team win the WBC without him.
But Ellis said he was never concerned that the injury might force him to miss the start of the season.
“We were so conservative,” Ellis said. “I think that conservative approach has been beneficial to make sure that Opening Day is realistic.”