Red Sox notebook

Monster game for Ross

He homers twice over replica wall

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / March 4, 2012
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FORT MYERS, Fla. - Cody Ross is adjusting to Boston quite well. After hitting two home runs and driving in five runs against Northeastern in a 25-0 victory yesterday, he arrived for his postgame interview wearing a Bruins cap.

Ross watched the Dallas Stars when he was a kid and followed the San Jose Sharks during his two seasons with the San Francisco Giants.

“Now I’m a Bruins fan,’’ he said.

If yesterday’s game is any indication, Ross will be a big fan of Fenway Park, too. Both of his home runs were shots over the replica Green Monster at JetBlue Park.

A righthanded pull hitter, Ross seems like a good fit for Fenway.

“Obviously any time you’re swinging the bat well, whether it’s in Little League or if against college pitching or major league pitching, it feels good,’’ he said. “I like it. It plays a lot better for my swing than a lot of parks I’ve played in.’’

Ross said he doesn’t want to get too conscious about trying to pepper the wall at Fenway. But after spending most of his career at pitcher-friendly parks in Florida and San Francisco, he welcomes the change. “I’d be lying if I said no,’’ he said.

Ross had a solo shot in the second inning and a grand slam in the fourth.

“He got a couple of balls up that he was able to elevate and hit the high fly ball that he does. We’ve all seen that swing in postseason, haven’t we?’’ said manager Bobby Valentine, referring to Ross being named MVP of the 2010 National League Championship Series. “He’s got that swing and I think it will play at Fenway.’’

Progress for Crawford

Carl Crawford, who was shut down from swinging because of inflammation in his surgically repaired left wrist, is making progress. He had less swelling and more range of motion yesterday.

“Pretty soon, I hope in the next couple of days,’’ said Crawford when asked when he might start swinging again. “I took it over the edge and I have to slow it down.’’

Crawford still hopes to be ready in time for Opening Day.

“I’m trying,’’ he said. “There are setbacks. It’s pretty much myself trying to push it a little bit. I shouldn’t have done as much as I was doing. But I just wanted to see. It was feeling so good. I thought I could keep going and keep going. Now I know what kind of pace I have to do things at. Once the inflammation goes down, I’ll know not to push it as much.’’

Ortiz is first option

David Ortiz started at first base against Boston College in the second game of the doubleheader, a 6-3 Red Sox win. Valentine isn’t too concerned about Ortiz suffering an injury and plans to use him at first base several times in spring training.

He was 0 for 2 with a walk and handled seven chances cleanly.

“He’s done all the drills since he’s been here. Right now he’s conditioned to do it,’’ Valentine said. “If in fact during the interleague play it’s determined that he should play in the field, I think he should have the reps on his résumé so that he feels he’s done it before this year and he can do it again.

“This isn’t just to get him his at-bats.’’

Valentine has spoken to Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez and discussed the idea of Ortiz playing first and Gonzalez playing right field in interleague games.

Starting today, Gonzalez will take fly balls during workouts.

Gonzalez was at first base against Northeastern. He walked and hit a three-run homer over everything in left field.

Iglesias bats leadoff

Jose Iglesias was 1 for 3 against Northeastern, singling in the second inning. He hit leadoff because the Sox want to see as much of him as they can.

Before the game Valentine talked about what kind of offensive player Iglesias needs to be.

“He has to be able to bunt for base hits in game situations,’’ the manager said. “I don’t mean leading off the game and bunting for a base hit. Man on second and no outs, he better be able to bunt for a base hit and get him over or squeeze if necessary if it’s a big run and I’m not going to take his defense out of the game.

“He has pretty good skills. I’m surprised at his skills.’’

Doubront shines

Felix Doubront was out of shape and had a sore elbow a year ago at this time. But he started and threw two solid innings against Boston College in the second game of the doubleheader. Mike Aviles had two doubles and two RBIs and Juan Carlos Linares two RBIs.

A 24-year-old lefthander, Doubront allowed an infield single and threw 15 of 20 pitches for strikes. He has improved the footwork on his delivery and now lands on his toes instead of his heel, which helps keep the ball down.

“My delivery was awesome,’’ he said. “I worked hard in my bullpens. It feels normal. . . . I can throw more strikes.’’

Doubront is a legitimate contender for a spot in the rotation. He has long been an organizational favorite and has impressed Valentine.

“I have a lot of confidence. I feel pretty much ready to be in Boston and a starter for the team, he said. “That’s what I’m working to show the manager, that I want to be there.’’

Watch your steps

The Sox held their annual charity dance contest Friday night. A group of the younger players, paired with professional dancers, competed. Catcher Dan Butler was the winner and had his trophy in the clubhouse. Valentine, a champion ballroom dancer when he was in high school, also was in the competition . . . Valentine has not had a chance to talk to team statistical analyst Bill James at length. But he is working closely with director of baseball information services Tom Tippett and director of major league operations Zack Scott. “I’ve given them some projects,’’ Valentine said. “They’re amazing. The information is amazing. Theories are great. I think it’s all to the benefit of mankind. It’s advancement of knowledge. It’s cool stuff. My gut and baseball instincts are based on that stuff.’’ . . . The Sox are 11-0 against Northeastern, outscoring the Huskies, 111-6 . . . Will Middlebrooks had three doubles against Northeastern.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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