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.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.