Ross gives his side of story

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / July 22, 2012
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Cody Ross has always hit lefthanders well, something that has been particularly the case this season. He went into Saturday night’s game against Toronto hitting .329 against lefties with a 1.200 OPS.

What annoys Ross is that his numbers against righthanded pitchers look ordinary by comparison.

“You can get labeled in this game pretty easily and because I’ve hit lefties, people question whether I can hit righthanders,” he said. “But that’s never been an issue as far as I’m concerned.”

Ross aptly demonstrated that on Thursday when he drilled a three-run walkoff home run off White Sox reliever Addison Reed, a righthander who came into the game to face Ross.

Ross is hitting .248 against righthanders with a .724 OPS. That’s in line with what he has done over the course of his career.

“I’ve been hitting against righthanders since I was 5 years old,” he said. “I think I do fine.

“But the way the game is, you’re going to see more of them. I’ve hit righties my whole life. I hate when people make that comparison. I see lefties well, like any righthander would. But I’m not uncomfortable against righties.”

The Red Sox have not used Ross as a platoon player this season and he doesn’t expect that will be the case, even with Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford back from the disabled list. He has been starting in right field with Ryan Sweeney and Daniel Nava coming off the bench.

“I shook that label early in my career and I think I’ve shown people what I can do here,” Ross said. “I don’t think you can look at just what I do against righties or lefties, you have to look at the entire season.

“Early in my career, I got more chances against lefties so I was forced to do better against them. But now, at this stage, I’m fine either way.”

Ross is hitting .274 for the season with a .914 OPS. He has six extra-base hits in the last six games.

Aviles sits out

Shortstop Mike Aviles did not play because of a sore toe, the result of his going hard into a base on Friday night.

“Those things can really get worse, so he’s off his feet today for most of the day,” manager Bobby Valentine said. Valentine said he hoped Aviles would only need a day off.

Pedro Ciriaco started at shortstop and was 1 for 3 with a bunt single, but also made an error that led to an unearned run.

Resting up

Ellsbury sat out the game, the center fielder being given what was termed a “planned” day off by the training staff.

Valentine seemed a little perplexed given that Ellsbury has played only eight games since missing three months with a partially dislocated right shoulder.

“I’m not sure. We’ll play it by ear,” the manager said when asked if Ellsbury would be getting more such days off down the road.

Ellsbury has played well since his return, going 12 for 35 (.343).

Crawford, who started in left for the sixth consecutive game Saturday, is scheduled for one of the planned days off on Sunday.

He was on the disabled list until July 16 with left wrist and elbow injuries.

Ortiz improving

David Ortiz limped out of the dugout to present Jason Varitek with two seats from Fenway Park as part of the pregame ceremony honoring the former team captain.

Ortiz is wearing a walking boot on his right foot to take some pressure off his strained Achilles’ tendon. He was injured Monday and placed on the 15-day disabled list two days later.

Ortiz has been receiving treatment and has yet to try anything beyond walking slowly back and forth from the trainer’s room.

“I’m improving a little bit.” he said. “Hopefully getting better every day and I can get back and play.”

Ortiz may stay back in Boston when the team leaves for Texas on Sunday to continue his treatments at Fenway Park. Then he would rejoin the team in New York on Friday.

“Maybe by then I could start doing some things,” he said.

The 36-year-old Ortiz was asked about seeing two longtime teammates, Varitek and Tim Wakefield, retire before this season then get honored at Fenway.

“It makes me feel young,” Ortiz said.“But the bottom line is all of us get there someday.”

Lester tries again

Jon Lester (5-7, 4.80 ERA) will try to get his wayward season on track Sunday when he faces the Blue Jays. Lester has lasted only 8 innings in his last two starts, giving up 10 earned runs on 16 hits. The Red Sox are 7-12 in the games he has started. Valentine said Lester and pitching coach Bob McClure have worked on some mechanical adjustments in recent days. But Valentine thinks that Lester is more a victim of bad luck, something that the statistics back up. Opponents are hitting .331 on balls they put in play against Lester. That average was around .300 over the first six seasons of his career. Lester has faced the Blue Jays twice this season, allowing seven earned runs over 15 innings . . . Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is on the DL with a sore trapezius muscle, has started throwing off the bullpen mound but is not close to facing hitters . . . Nava started in right for the first time this season. Ross was the DH . . . Errors by Ciriaco and Will Middlebrooks led to two unearned runs for Toronto. Middlebrooks has nine errors in 55 games . . . Adrian Gonzalez has hit safely in 24 of his last 26 games at .387 (41 of 106).

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

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