Only a day after the Los Angeles Dodgers traded Clayton Kershaw’s best friend A.J. Ellis to the Philadelphia Phillies, the pitching ace still could not contemplate the logic behind the absence of Ellis in the dugout.
He said that he did not think of the moves or think of Ellis leaving. He called the Dodgers most recent trade a huge subtraction.
Ellis, who is 35, was drafted in 2003 by the Dodgers. He has been catching Kershaw since both were Double-A teammates back in 2007. Kershaw’s voice broke with emotion while praising Ellis’ servant heart that made the catcher more valuable that the batting average of just .194 would indicate.
Los Angeles’ highest paid player was not the only person inside the Dodger clubhouse who was in mourning on Thursday.
He was not the only person Friday offering high praise for veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz who the Dodgers acquired from Philadelphia.
Kershaw said Ruiz was highly recommended by a number of guys who say he cares and he loves the game. Chase Utley was a Ruiz teammate with the Phillies and loves the guy, added Kershaw, which sums up all you needed to know.
However, nothing regarding the trade hit lightly on Kershaw. He left on Thursday for a time to spend some time with Ellis before the catcher left for his new team.
Kershaw said that Ellis helped so many careers of different players and that type of person is not replaced easily.
On Thursday, Ellis indicated that the most devastating part of his trade to the Phillies was he would never against be able to catch Kershaw, the three-time winner of the Cy Young Award.
Kershaw added that throwing to any catcher other than his friend Ellis would not be an easy task. Kershaw told reporters that the pitcher gets all the credit and takes all the blame, but that the catcher must prepare harder than all pitchers for each game.
Kershaw is still not yet back from his herniated disc problem but did have a 60-pitch session on Friday.
The Dodgers are in the heat of a National League West division race with the San Francisco Giants. Los Angeles sits in first place one game ahead of the Giants but has lost two straight, while the Giants have won two straight.
If Kershaw is able to return, his presence on the mound should help the Dodgers considerably, but trading away his personal catcher and best friend, will not make things any easier for the pitching ace.