With hip healthy, Ross trying to get back in the flow
PHOENIX — Cody Ross’ sliding catch near the left-field foul line Saturday night might have caused some in Chase Field to cringe inasmuch as Ross finished the play with his weight squarely on his surgically repaired right hip.
Not to worry. As Ross said early Sunday, sliding was never the primary issue during his recovery, even if it was the last part of the game he attacked in spring training.
"The main concern was the pounding," said Ross, hammering a fist into the opposite palm. "The sliding deal maybe got blown out of proportion a little bit. People said, ‘He hasn’t even slid yet,’ but that really wasn’t even a hurdle.
"I had a couple of similar plays to that in Reno where I didn’t even hesitate. Slid in, made the play, popped up and threw it in."
That leaves the final step in Ross’ recovery the natural adjustment to the pace of the game after almost nine months off a major league field. He suffered his injury on Aug. 11, 2013.
Ross had his first two-hit game and his first three RBIs of the season Saturday, stinging two hard singles through the infield, before going 0 for 4 Sunday to drop his average to .100.
"You could go out on a rehab assignment for 50 days and you can’t emulate late big league pitching and big league play," Ross said. "It is just so much faster. The game is so much quicker. Every play means more. Actually, I’ve been feeling really good since Day 1."
While Ross will get the majority of the time in left field with Mark Trumbo out for the next six to eight weeks because of a stress fracture in his left foot, the Diamondbacks also will make sure not to overwork him. Tony Campana, who hits left-handed, could see time in left field when manager Kirk Gibson wants to play matchups.
Ross has a soul mate in Gibson, who also played with and through injuries during his 17-year career.
"That’s the smart thing to do," Ross said of taking an occasional day off, "and I’ve talked to Gibby a lot about it. He’s been injured enough that he knows how guys feel after an injury. And this is severe. We’re not talking even a blown-out knee or an ACL. That is minor compared to what I went through.
"So the smart thing to do is to take it easy, give me break here and there. He is really good at that. He talks to me every day. Asks me how I feel. He wants me to be honest with him, not be a hero and go out there when I am not feeling really good and risk injury. We’re staying on top of it."