A.J. Ellis “ahead of schedule” in recovery from knee surgery

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Expected to miss 4-6 weeks following April 8 knee surgery, Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis has resumed doing baseball activities and, according to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times, “appears ahead of schedule.”

Ellis wasn’t able to run at full speed when he tried recently, so he’s not that far ahead of schedule, but a minor-league rehab assignment should be around the corner.

In Ellis’ absence the Dodgers have turned to Tim Fedorowicz as their primary catcher, with Drew Butera serving as his backup, but that duo is hitting a combined .134 on the season.

Report: Tigers to hire Ron Gardenhire as new manager

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The Tigers are expected to hire Ron Gardenhire as the team’s new manager upon completion of a contract, per Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang of The Athletic. Gardenhire, 59, spent the 2017 season serving as the bench coach for the Diamondbacks.

Gardenhire managed the Twins for 13 seasons between 2002-14, amassing a 1,068-1,039 (.507) record in the regular season and reaching the playoffs six times.

According to Strang and Rosenthal, Gardenhire was one of 10 candidates to interview with the Tigers. Others included Alex Cora, Mike Redmond, Fredi Gonzalez, Joe McEwing, Hensley Meulens, Dave Clark, and Omar Vizquel. Apparently, GM Al Avila wanted a manager with previous major league managing experience.

The Tigers parted ways with previous manager Brad Ausmus at the end of the 2017 regular season, his fourth year at the helm.