Mark Ellis would like to resume his stellar season start with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the second baseman first must contribute for the Chattanooga Lookouts.
The 35-year-old Ellis played with the Lookouts for a second consecutive night as part of his rehab assignment Saturday at AT&T Field. He got on base via a walk and an error during Chattanooga's 7-5 loss to Tennessee before a crowd of 4,598.
"It's absolutely different," Ellis said of competing in a smaller venue, "but it's fun. It's where we all started."
Ellis shredded the majors in the season's first month, hitting .342 with two doubles, two home runs and 11 RBIs in 20 games before being sidelined by a strained right quadriceps. He hasn't played since April 26, when the Dodgers were 11-11.
Shortly after the Dodgers placed Ellis on the disabled list, they lost eight straight games.
"You want to get back and play as quick as you can, but you can't go until you're ready," said Ellis, who hit a career-high .316 with the Oakland A's in 2005.
Ellis is not expected to be in Chattanooga much longer, so Lookouts manager Jody Reed is hoping his players can learn from a career .266 hitter with 101 home runs and 501 RBIs.
"Clearly you have a veteran, established major league player who is here," Reed said. "You can tell them this is how it is, but now they're actually seeing it. Seeing how to play the game a certain way can be impactful."
Said Lookouts left fielder Blake Smith: "It's always fun getting rehab guys to come in. Mark has a great work ethic, and it's fun just to have the chance to play with him."
Dodgers pitcher Scott Elbert, who made 11 starts with the Lookouts in 2009, also is in Chattanooga on a rehab assignment. Elbert worked the first inning Saturday before being replaced by Chris Reed, allowing a leadoff single to center field to Matt Szczur and an RBI double to left by Ronald Torreyes.
Smith had a two-run double to left field in the third inning to pull Chattanooga (16-26) into a 3-3 tie, but the Smokies (22-19) went ahead to stay in the sixth when Jonathan Mota scored after leading off with a double to left. They added two more in the seventh on RBIs by Arismendy Alcantara and Christian Villanueva.
Szczur and Alcantara had three hits apiece to pace Tennessee's 15-hit onslaught.
Andres Santiago (2-4, 5.17 ERA) is scheduled to start today's 2:15 game on the mound for the Lookouts, with Alberto Cabrera (3-1, 3.86) scheduled for the Smokies.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...