BOSTON (CBS) – New Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross doesn’t have the raw talent to mash 30 homers or drive in 100 runs.
Instead, the 31-year-old Ross relies on his motor, and his heart.
“I have to. I don’t have the tools to just go out there and let that get me by; I have to play with heart, energy and passion,” Ross told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jonny Miller at the Red Sox Spring Training facilities. “Otherwise I would have been gone a long time ago.”
The Red Sox are Ross’ sixth MLB team over his eight year career. His best season, statistically, came in 2009 when Ross hit 24 home runs, drove in 90 and batted .270 over 151 games for the Florida Marlins. He won MVP of the 2010 NLCS with the San Francisco Giants, winning a World Series ring that season, but struggled in 2011. He hit just .240 over 121 games, striking out 96 times to his 97 hits.
Now he comes to Boston with a chance to fit into an explosive lineup. As far as his expectations for 2012 go, he doesn’t have any. Ross doesn’t like to put that pressure on himself, instead just focusing on being better.
“I rarely set personal goals; I try to have a better season than the season before,” said Ross, a career .261 hitter. “That’s probably not going to be hard to do after last year, but for me it’s going out and focusing on trying to help the team. Any little thing you can do to try and get that run across the board, because that’s all it’s about at the end of the day.”
Ross could find plenty of playing time in Boston, especially early on. Carl Crawford may not be ready for opening day with a wrist injury, and the Sox don’t have a clear-cut right fielder. Known as a grinder, the righty pull-hitter could be swinging for the Green Monster quite a bit, something he is getting used to down in in Fort Myers at JetBlue Park.
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“It’s awesome, we definitely have a competitive advantage being able to play in a replica spring training park,” he said of the new field, which has an (almost) exact replica of Fenway. “It’s nice to get up there and know the dimensions and know that if you hit a ball down the line and it’s high, you have to bust it out of the box to get to second. It helps out a lot.”
And then there is the famous Fenway right field, which Ross could be patrolling come April. The only question is, will he be ready?
“(By) spring training. Pobably,” he said with a chuckle. “Hopefully.”