Ross could be back much sooner than expected
BALTIMORE - The Red Sox were disconsolate about Cody Ross Monday, believing they had lost the run-producing outfielder for perhaps two months because of a fractured navicular bone in his left foot.
But Ross was somewhat more optimistic Tuesday, saying his foot felt good and he’s hopeful of returning to the team sooner than first expected.
“I’m definitely not going to put a date on it. Is it going to be 6-8 weeks? Is it going to be 2-4 weeks? Who knows?’’ Ross said.
“It’s going to totally depend how it heals. I feel good today. I’m walking around normal. It doesn’t hurt. It could be a quick recovery.’’
Ross fouled a ball off his foot Friday night in Philadelphia and was in Boston Monday for an MRI. He sought a second opinion here Tuesday, seeing Dr. Lew Schon.
He confirmed the original diagnosis.
Ross was placed on the 15-day disabled list and is wearing a large walking boot to take weight off his foot.
That Ross was feeling close to normal had manager Bobby Valentine feeling better, too.
“At worst case it’s not as bad as we thought it was yesterday,’’ he said. “At best case, it’s much better.’’
General manager Ben Cherington was more cautious than Valentine, saying Ross still could miss 6-8 weeks.
“We’ve got to get him out of the boot first and then get a better read for how he is,’’ Cherington said.
“Optimistic that it feels better every day. Hopefully it’s in the earlier part of that range.’’
The Sox want to make sure Ross doesn’t reinjure himself by returning too soon.
“The DL is still necessary. We have to let the thing heal for a while,’’ Cherington said. “Frustrating, tough break for him, but we’ll get him back as soon as we can.
“Even though he feels better we have to do the right thing and let it heal first.’’
Dustin Pedroia fractured the same bone in June of 2012 and missed the remainder of the season outside of two games. His fracture was much worse and required surgery.
“He’s telling me all the little stuff he can do to try and get back,’’ Ross said.
The Sox now have seven outfielders on the disabled list.
“There’s always your fair share of injuries but not like this,’’ Ross said.
“It’s amazing. It’s probably some kind of record I would assume.’’
Kevin Youkilis was back in the lineup for the first time since April 28, having been activated off the disabled list. He missed 22 games with a strained lower back.
But instead of third base, Youkilis started at first and was 1 for 3 with a home run and two strikeouts in a 4-1 loss against the Orioles. Hard-hitting rookie Will Middlebrooks stayed at third and Adrian Gonzalez moved to right field.
With Ross out, Gonzalez volunteered to play right. All agree it’s not an ideal situation but it leaves the team with a strong lineup. Valentine does not plan for that to be his every day lineup; his preference would be to have Gonzalez at first.
“We’ll have to appraise that situation a little more as we see it more,’’ Valentine said. “I would say that probably less is better than more.
“I don’t think [Gonzalez] will mess up anything. There just might be a few he doesn’t get to. If it comes to the point that there are outs that we’re giving away, then we’ll probably scratch the idea.’’
Said Cherington: “Adrian knows himself really well. He knows how far he can push it. I think Bobby has a good feel for how far he can push it. It’s not going to be an every day thing. It’s probably not a long-term thing. In the short term, here and there, in the right ballparks, maybe it helps us a little bit. Kind of do it in as safe a way as possible.’’
Cherington said Youkilis would move around, playing first and third.
“Everyone just has to make an adjustment,’’ he said. “What we’re trying to do is put the best lineup on the field as we can and keep as many good players on the roster as we can. It is a little bit unusual circumstance to move guys around but we have a bunch of professional guys and we’re confident they can handle it.’’
Youkilis was hitting .219 when he went on the disabled list. He was 4 for 11 in a three-game rehabilitation assignment with Triple A Pawtucket.
“I’m good to go,’’ Youkilis said before the game, one of several terse comments he had for reporters.
Youkilis even said his return was not noteworthy.
“It’s not more than a story other than just playing tonight and going out there and playing. That’s it. It’s just going out and playing,’’ he said.
Youkilis has had a series of lingering injuries in recent years. As to the condition of his back, his answer was cryptic.
“Today I feel good and we’ll see tomorrow,’’ Youkilis said.
Sweeney to DL
The Sox placed Ryan Sweeney on baseball’s new seven-day disabled list for concussions. He banged his head Saturday while making a diving catch in Philadelphia. The DL stint was retroactive to Sunday. Sweeney first must pass an MLB-administered test before being cleared to play . . . Outfielder Scott Podsednik, a 36-year-old veteran of 10 major league seasons, was promoted from Pawtucket and grounded into a force play when he pinch hit in the eighth inning. He had not been in the majors since 2010. “I still feel like I have some left in the tank,’’ he said. “I’ve turned 36 and that’s old for a leadoff hitter or a runner. But I’m healthy, I feel great and I’m as strong as I’ve ever been. I still feel I can make an impact at this level.’’ . . . Cherington said there is “nothing more going on’’ with free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt, whom the team worked out last week . . . Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Podsednik on the 40-man roster . . . Righthander Aaron Cook is still having trouble with his cut left knee and will not start a rehab assignment this week . . . Dwight Evans will represent the Red Sox at the amateur draft next month when the first round picks are made on the MLB Network.
Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com.