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Report: Padres hire A.J. Ellis as special assistant to baseball operations

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MLB.com’s A.J. Cassavell reports that catcher A.J. Ellis has been hired as a special assistant to the Padres’ baseball operations department under executive VP and GM A.J. Preller. That’s a lot of A.J.’s.

Ellis, 37, signed a minor league deal with the Padres almost exactly a year ago and ended up playing 66 games in the big leagues for them in 2018. He hit .272/.378/.344 in 183 plate appearances.

This almost certainly signals the end of Ellis’s playing career. He spent 11 seasons in the big leagues with the Dodgers, Phillies, Marlins, and Padres, batting .239/.340/.352 across 672 games. Along with solid on-base skills, Ellis was known for being a great teammate and his ability to call a good game for his pitchers.

Clayton Kershaw shut down with “an arm kind of thing”

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Spring training is just underway but Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is already being shut down indefinitely.

Kershaw threw two bullpen sessions this week and, as the Los Angeles Times reports, he “didn’t feel right” afterward. Manager Dave Roberts said it was “arm kind of thing,” which, viva specificity. Roberts did allow that it might be so-called “dead arm” but it’s too soon to know. For now he’ll be working out as usual but not throwing.

Kershaw has had an increasing number of nagging injuries and ailments over the past several seasons, limiting him to 26 starts last year, 27 the year before and 21 in 2016. Whether this is something serious or not is unknown, but at least he’s experiencing it now instead of the middle of the season.