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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.

Watch: Christian Yelich continues to make a case for NL MVP repeat

Christian Yelich
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Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.

The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.

While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.

Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.

It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.