MIAMI -- A.J. Ellis caught all of one game for Triple-A Albuquerque before getting called up Friday night, awoke at 4 a.m. Saturday, caught a 6 a.m. flight out of Oklahoma City and was in uniform and on the field in Miami by 3 p.m. to catch Clayton Kershaw's bullpen session.
Sunday, he spells Russell Martin and gets the challenging assignment of catching knuckleballer Charlie Haeger.
"I caught him last year in Albuquerque and a couple of his relief appearances this spring," said Ellis, who has had brief callups the past two seasons. "I don't think you ever get used to it. You try to be as comfortable as possible. I'll use Charlie's mitt. He carries his own mitt. It's a fun challenge. I enjoy it."
Ellis said he'll benefit from the significant playing time he got this Spring Training while Martin was healing from a strained groin muscle.
"I was excited about the way the spring ended and the way I played," said Ellis, who hit .278. "Any time you get innings in Major League games it's important, Spring Training included. You earn the manager's and your teammates' trust.
"At the same time, I was excited about working with the young pitchers at Albuquerque. I caught James McDonald's five strong innings in the first game. Scott Elbert really pitched well last night. I'll be curious to see how Josh Lindblom pitches tonight."
Manager Joe Torre said he does not want to have a designated catcher for Haeger.
"You wind up in a jam and the other guy, it's foreign to him. I don't want that to be the case," Torre said. "It's not necessary to have one guy."