6/14/2013 8:25 P.M. ET
Dodgers activate catcher Ellis prior to opener
By Steven Petrella / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday, and catcher Ramon Hernandez was designated for assignment.
Ellis had been out of action since June 2 with a strained oblique. The move was retroactive to May 30, allowing for a Friday return. Ellis started at catcher and batted seventh in the opener against the Pirates.
In the 14 games Ellis missed, Tim Federowicz caught 10, hitting .225 with two home runs, eight RBIs and 16 strikeouts in 40 at-bats. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said if Federowicz was going to be in the big leagues, he wanted the 25-year-old to play, not sit on the bench and see the field once a week.
That's why Federowicz was better off in Triple-A earlier in the season. But now, Mattingly said he wants to get Federowicz more playing time to spell Ellis as the long season wears on, and feels comfortable with him behind the plate.
"We're at that part of the season where we're playing a bunch of games in a row, Fed's going to have to play," Mattingly said. "He's been fine. He's done a good job with our pitching."
Federowicz hit .418 with a 1.348 OPS in Triple-A Albuquerque this year. He had eight home runs, eight doubles and 25 RBIs in 79 at-bats.
The 37-year-old Hernandez has played for six different teams over his 15-year Major League career, and hit .208 with three homers and six RBIs in 48 at-bats for the Dodgers this season.
Hanley returns to starting lineup vs. Pirates
PITTSBURGH -- Hanley Ramirez made his return to the Dodgers lineup on Friday, batting cleanup and playing shortstop.
Ramirez was in the Dodgers' lineup on June 4 after playing just four games earlier in the season while dealing with an injured hamstring. However, he had played sparingly in the last week, pinch-hitting on four occasions -- most recently Wednesday -- but not starting.
Ramirez's return allowed Dodgers manager Don Mattingly -- who on Friday served his one-game suspension for his role in Tuesday's scuffle with the D-backs -- to slide outfielder Yasiel Puig to the leadoff spot and out of the four-hole.
Mattingly said he considered hitting Puig, who entered Friday with four home runs and 10 RBIs in 35 at-bats, in the five-spot, but wanted to maximize his at-bats. Puig was batting .486 with a 1.399 OPS in his first 10 games.
"I like him getting that extra at-bat up top," Mattingly said. "If he comes up again and you're down a run, he can steal a base, he can hit a homer, he can hit a double. He's getting the extra at-bat and that's what I like."
• Matt Kemp shagged fly balls Friday and took some swings as he continues to recover from a mild hamstring strain. Mattingly said Kemp's return before the end of this road trip, which runs through June 23, is unlikely, but ideally he'd like to get the outfielder on a rehab assignment before then.
• Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, the recently appointed ninth-inning man, hasn't allowed a baserunner in his last 4 1/3 innings and hasn't surrendered a run in his last 11 appearances.
• The Dodgers, who have won six straight series against the Pirates, swept Pittsburgh in their last matchup from April 5-7.
Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.