A.J. Ellis is in The Best Shape of His Life

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While Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis didn’t come right out and say it, this comes right out of the BSOHL playbook.

According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Ellis said today that he lost 15 pounds over the winter. The 32-year-old dropped the weight because he wants to take on a bigger load behind the plate this year and catch between 120-125 games.

Ellis has functioned as the Dodgers’ primary catcher over the past two seasons. After catching 131 games (128 starts) in 2012, he dropped down to 113 games (109 starts) last year because of a stint on the disabled list with a strained left oblique.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.