SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Though Cody Ross took a step in his rehab of a calf injury Tuesday, the Diamondbacks outfielder will likely open the season on the disabled list, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson confirmed.
“I’d rather (do that) than him push it and injure himself for six to eight weeks,” Gibson said. “Let’s get it right. If we have to DL him to do that, then it’s certainly he an option.”
An MRI on March 4 revealed a strained soleus muscle in Ross’s left calf. The D-backs shut him down from any running for two weeks before letting him start working on a weight-bearing treadmill. Ross progressed slowly, Gibson said, and it has become increasingly apparent he would not be ready to play on Opening Day.
Ross could progress this week to a point where he feels capable of starting the season on the big league roster, but the D-backs are choosing to err on the side of caution. With projected center fielder Adam Eaton out six to eight weeks with a sprained left ulnar collateral ligament, the D-backs don’t want to risk losing another outfielder.
On Tuesday, Ross jogged on the ground under head athletic trainer Ken Crenshaw’s supervision for the first time since the injury was diagnosed. Ross said he’ll take Wednesday off from any running and pick it up again Thursday, hopefully pushing himself a little more.
“It was just basically a tester, a feeler just to make sure I didn’t feel it,” Ross said. “I didn’t feel it once. That’s good mentally, good physically. It was definitely nice to get out there and jog a little bit.”
Gibson said if Ross does start on the disabled list A.J. Pollock will start the season in the majors, possibly in a starting role alonsgside Jason Kubel and Gerardo Parra. Gibson also said Tony Campana and minor leaguer Alfredo Marte are candidates for a fourth outfielder job. Campana has been limited by a cut on his left hand.
D-backs starting pitcher Daniel Hudson on Tuesday took another step in his rehab from Tommy John surgery, throwing a bullpen session off a pitcher’s mound for the first time since blowing out his elbow last June 26.
Hudson, who has been throwing on flat ground, threw 30 pitches and reported feeling good afterward.
“It felt really good to just kind of get over that hurdle,” Hudson said. “It’s good mentally to get over that hurdle and be out there, work downhill.”
Hudson said he was surprised the bullpen session wasn’t a little more awkward given how long it has been.
“It was surprisingly good,” Hudson said. “I wasn’t expecting anywhere near what I did, so it’s a step in the right direction.”
The D-backs still expect to get Hudson back around the All-Star break in July.Hudson said he’s scheduled to throw another bullpen session off the mound Friday.
NIEVES IS IN
The D-backs released catcher Rod Barajas on Monday, making Wil Nieves the backup to starter Miguel Montero. Gibson said Tuesday the decision was tough but declined to detail what went into the final decision.
“We hope we made the right call,” Gibson said. “It was very close. I’m not going to tell you the methodology to how we picked it. It was very tough telling Rod, because he did everything we asked of him quite honestly.”
Nieves spent the final two months with the team last season. Nieves also outhit Barajas this spring, batting .345, and has been better defensively through his career. Still, with as much as Montero plays, Nieves’ role will be limited. MILEY MATTER
Gibson said Tuesday he expects Wade Miley to start in the D-backs’ final exhibition against the Reds at Chase Field on Saturday. That would suggest they plan to have him on the Opening Day roster rather than on the disabled list as he works back from dead arm.
“If he’s healthy he would throw in Milwaukee (on April 5),” Gibson said.
The D-backs want to get Miley to around 90 pitches in the game Saturday and will then evaluate further how to use him. With an off day on April 4, the team has discussed skipping Miley’s first start.
“We can’t have him go out and throw and two starts later have a sore arm,” Gibson said. “If that’s going to be the case, then we’d take our time.”
Ian Kennedy has already been announced as the Opening Day starter. After that will be Trevor Cahill, and Brandon McCarthy will start the series finale at home against the St. Louis Cardinals.