D-backs: No rush on Ross’ return

Outfielder Cody Ross (calf) ran at 50 percent of his weight-bearing load on a treadmill Tuesday and took batting practice later. There seems to be some concern as to his availability for Opening Day.

“Don’t know yet,” general manager Kevin Towers said. “We’re erring on the side of being cautious. We don’t want to rush him.”

Ross has seven at-bats this spring.

“If for some odd reason he wasn’t ready and it was an extra couple of weeks, I’d rather have him for almost six months rather than three months if he has a major setback,” Towers said. “We’re going to make sure he is 100 percent to go before we starting running him and playing him. It’s hard to predict where he will be two weeks from now.”

The D-backs plan to get Ross some at-bats in minor-league games or B games later this week, although he would not run. A.J. Pollock has spent a lot of time in right field recently.

Miley behind schedule, too

Wade Miley has pitched six innings this spring, counting a two-inning stint against D-backs minor leaguers Monday, and is scheduled to pitch again Sunday. With only one more spring start after that, it appears unlikely Miley could reach 100 pitches in a game this spring, a team goal.

There are many possible permutations going forward, but since the D-backs do not need a fifth starter until the ninth game of the season, they could push Miley back and slot him into the rotation so that his turn would come up in one of three games April 16-18 against the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium, a park that is more forgiving to lefties.

Kirk Gibson said he will consider matchups when he officially sets his rotation, which is expected to lead with Ian Kennedy and Trevor Cahill and include Miley and Brandon McCarthy.

Rotation battle

The D-backs will “wait until the very end” to decide on the No. 5 starter spot between Patrick Corbin and Randall Delgado.

“Both guys have throw very well. A lot depends on if we go with a five-man or four-man” rotation,” Towers said. “I guess there is always a chance you could go with both. We have two more weeks to evaluate where things are at.”

If the D-backs went to a four-man rotation to start the season, they could recall one of the No. 5 candidates for the April 9 start if he is optioned out early enough. A player optioned from spring training must spend 10 days in the minor leagues, expect in case of an injury.

Contract matters

Paul Goldschmidt’s agent Joe Sambito was at the D-backs game at Salt River Fields on Tuesday. The Goldschmidt camp told the D-backs last winter that they did not want to talk a long-term deal until after this season, but there may be some wiggle room.

“I saw he was out here. I didn’t talk to him,” Towers said. “He was here about a week ago. I don’t want to talk about contract negotiations, if there were or there weren’t.”  

Asked if there were others he may talk long-term contract with this spring, Towers said: “There may be.” Goldschmidt and right-hander Ian Kennedy appear the top candidates.