FORT MYERS, Fla. — Cody Ross was intent on putting 2011 in the rear-view mirror, and thus far he’s doing a pretty good job.
Ross launched his fifth and sixth homers of the spring in the Red Sox‘ 9-7 win over the Twins Friday at Hammond Stadium. The outfielder is not hitting .366 during his first exhibition season with the Sox.
‘I changed a few things. I watched a lot of video this offseason,” Ross explained. “Just worked on my swing a lot. Instead of playing as much golf as I planned on this offseason, I really worked on my swing. Just focused on staying back and staying relaxed. One of the main keys was starting earlier. It feels good. Like I said, hopefully I can continue with it.’
“[Last season] was an awful feeling. I was in between. I started off pretty good. Then hit a skid in august, hit .180. just an up and down year. It was just not fun. I just never really felt like I got anything going. That’s a terrible feeling.’
The 31-year-old, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Red Sox in the offseason, is coming off a frustrating year with the Giants. The righty hitter hit .240 with a .730 OPS in 121 games, totaling 14 home runs.
Despite getting more lucrative offers from other teams, Ross decided the fit with the Red Sox would be best, both because of the opportunity to potentially win and play in a home park that was conducive to his swing.
‘It’s a great feeling,” said Ross, who hit four home runs last spring training. “Like I said earlier, I think this is my 12th or 13th year of pro ball. I’ve been on different teams and I don’t care what anyone says. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 28 or 31, like I am. Any time you go to a new team, you feel like you have to prove yourself again. Especially when you’re coming off a bad year, you feel like you have to show people, oh, you know, I can still play, I can still compete at a high level, I’m still a good player. It’s constant pressure, which is good. You turn that, and so far this spring, it’s been easy for me. Well, not easy, but an easy transition with this team. That’s it.”
Another note regarding Ross was that manager Bobby Valentine said prior to the game that he foresaw Ross playing in left field until Carl Crawford returns, while moving over to right field if Darnell McDonald is in the game.
‘It’s been a joy to have him around, and he’s launched em,” Valentine said. “He’s played great defens,e that’s gone unnoticed, and he’s hit a variety of pitches over that left field fence.”