Ellis comfortable as Dodgers' No. 8 hitter

Ellis comfortable as Dodgers' No. 8 hitter

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Catcher A.J. Ellis is aware of the Internet chatter suggesting he might make the best No. 2 hitter in the Dodgers' batting order, but he thinks he's a better fit at No. 8, which is where he's expected to bat this year.

Ellis' .376 career on-base percentage is what catches the eye of number crunchers, figuring he would be on base often for Matt Kemp and the middle of the order to drive in.

Aside from the obvious drawback of clogging up the bases, Ellis cautions that opposing strategy influences the on-base stat for a No. 8 hitter as much as his selective hitter's eye.

"If I'm hitting second, I'm not going to see the same pitches I see hitting eighth," he said. "If Kemp is behind me, I'm going to get peppered with fastballs. They won't be pitching around me. I won't get some of those walks. Sometimes as a catcher batting eighth, they work around you because they feel they have a sure out batting ninth.

"So some of those walks are a product of the pitcher. I love hitting eighth. I take it as a challenge and embrace it. There's a strong mental aspect to it and I feel privileged in that spot. Jamey Carroll hit eighth a lot for us and he taught me a lot.

"Before my first game at Triple-A, Tim Wallach was manager and he called me in and told me I would hit eighth no matter what, because that's where I would hit in the big leagues and it's the most important position. After that, I took pride in it."