David Ross won’t find his name penciled into the Red Sox’ lineup until at least mid August. But the veteran catcher is back with his teammates, and his presence alone could make a difference.
Ross hasn’t played since June 14, as he’s currently on the 60-day disabled list because of a concussion. And even when he has been on the field this season, the 36-year-old has endured his share of struggles, hitting just .185 with a .274 on-base percentage in 23 games. Ross still brings plenty to the table in terms of leadership, though, so his return to the Red Sox’ clubhouse Thursday was a very encouraging sign.
“There’s going to be some throwing and some conditioning that goes into his daily work, but the tolerance we’ll monitor daily and how we can progress forward,” manager John Farrell said. “But his addition back in this clubhouse, this is one of the most respected guys in our clubhouse. He’s full of life and energy, and I think for some of the younger guys, there might be a little bit of a calming influence just based on what he’s experienced.”
Ross will ease his way back into things as he attempts to return from his second concussion of the year. To start, the plan is for Ross to spend the early part of the day and up to three innings per night with the team — something that Farrell said is designed to get Ross used to the noise, commotion and everything else that comes with a daily routine. If all goes well, Ross could ramp up his actual baseball preparation before long.
While Ross’ physical activity will still be limited for the time being, it’s not unreasonable to think that he’ll be heavily involved in the Red Sox’ gameday preparations. Even in his short time with the club, Ross has developed a strong relationship with his teammates, and Farrell has even said that having him around is like having an additional coach.
“Just the daily conversation in and around the game and what we’ve been dealing with as a team and the challenges we go up against nightly, knowing David, there’s not going to be any reluctance on his part to be involved in it,” Farrell said.
Ross, who has spent the last month at his home in Florida, has been symptom-free for three days. Everyone involved will certainly proceed delicately given the serious nature of concussions, but it’s a huge step forward for Ross, who is confident that he’ll play again this season.
“I expect to be back as soon as possible,” Ross said Thursday. “It’s one of those things you can’t push. I tried to push it. That’s what got me into this predicament. I’m going to take my time and do what the doctor says. So far, so good. Now that I’m getting back healthy, I can really see how bad I was.”
When Ross is ready to return to the field, the Red Sox will welcome him with open arms. But they probably won’t need to wait that long to start seeing his impact.
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