Ross, who signed as a free agent with the Dbacks in the offseason, injured his leg March 3 and has faced no live hitting since then. Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson refused March 19 to rule him out Ross for opening day, but he admitted the former Boston Red Sox player quickly is running out of time to prepare.
"It's getting to the end and I'd prefer that he can play before we go into the regular season, so he gets some at-bats," Gibson said in his pregame briefing. "I don't want him to have his spring training during the season. That would be my preference."
Ross ran a special treadmill March 19 that cut his weight by half. He should be able to take on his full weight within five days, Gibson said. At the same time, he's started taking batting practice and the Dbacks manager said he was organizing either a "B-squad" game or other activity that will allow Ross to face live pitching without having to play defense.
Gibson said Ross was "progressing and feeling much better" and that his recovery was proceeding at the expected rate. Calendar watchers, however, say otherwise, pointing out that Gibson told reporters March 7 that Ross would take on full weight training by March 19.
Ross' loss would have little impact on the Diamondbacks, who still have a glut of outfielders even after the trades of Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves and Chris Young to the Oakland Athletics. Rookie Adam Eaton is a lock for center field, while Gold Glover Gerardo Parra and right fielder Jason Kubel are returning this year.
Ross' signing mystified many, given the team already has rookie A.J. Pollack, who hit .247 in 31 games for the Dbacks last season. Pollack is batting around .240 this spring and likely will make the roster as the fourth outfielder Gibson wants if Ross goes on the disabled list.
Pollack, who said he's done nothing differently to prepare for this year than in past attempts to make the team, is simply waiting to hear from Gibson.
"If they call on me, I'm going to be ready," he said.
More Diamondbacks Spring Training:
James is a 25-year journalist who has worked in Washington, New York, Bangkok and Tokyo covering politics, business, travel and sports. With so many homes, he's adopted several teams, most recently the Diamondbacks upon moving to Phoenix in 2012.
Follow James on Twitter at @NotThatBobJames.
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