Of course, Navarro's .193 batting average was reason enough. But the Dodgers had grown increasingly frustrated with the former All-Star's reluctance to do extra work to improve his play. A number of pitches that got past him in Milwaukee and Colorado during this trip hastened the move.
"I didn't think he was the right guy for this team right now and what we're trying to do," said Mattingly. "He didn't fit in to that. Obviously, the performance under .200, but he didn't fit into my beliefs, the way you go about it and that means he didn't fit into Ned's beliefs also. Philosophical differences."
Colletti said it was "time for a change. Part of it is to look at A.J. and this gives Dioner a chance to catch on with a team in the race if such has interest."
It also means the GM continues to look to next year. Navarro and remaining veteran catcher Rod Barajas will be free agents after this season. Ellis will be out of options next year. When rosters expand Sept. 1, the club is expected to promote switch-hitting catcher Tim Federowicz, the promising prospect acquired last month from Boston in the Trayvon Robinson trade.
Ellis and Federowicz will likely get most of the September playing time, and it's conceivable they could form a young tandem next season.
"This gives A.J. an opportunity to play more and not be just a September callup," Colletti said of Ellis, who is expected to start Wednesday's trip finale against the Cardinals. "What he does in the next five to six weeks will give us a better indication of how we are [at catcher]. We're still a little bit thin, but stronger than we were a month ago."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.