Notes: Ross' return remains uncertain
Back cramps preclude veteran catcher from spring action
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Reds catcher David Ross never expected that he would miss this much time.
Spasms have had Ross' lower back in knots, and when he wakes up on Saturday, he'll have already missed all 11 Spring Training games.
"It's terrible," said Ross of the longer-than-expected layoff. Ross thought he'd miss a couple of days when he first got hurt.
Ross' stay in the trainer's room has been extended because of two attempts to return gone wrong. The most recent try at hitting and throwing was four days ago, and it proved he wasn't ready yet.
"I'm going to wait until I'm pain-free," Ross said on Friday. "I've never had back problems. You can't really do anything. I can't throw. I can't hit. I can't catch. I've been on all kinds of medicine. It's not really helping me much."
A targeted return date wasn't known, but manager Dusty Baker estimated it could be another week.
"He was taking two steps forward and one step back," Baker said. "If you keep doing that, you might as well say it's not day-to-day. They say it's muscular. Nothing in the vertebrae or nerves or anything like that."
Ross, who turns 31 on March 19, began working out at a local YMCA pool on Thursday and is running and conditioning in the water.
There are three weeks remaining before camp breaks, which means Ross can still catch up. But there's no avoiding the fact that he's behind his teammates. If he's not ready to open the season, the Reds have Javier Valentin and non-roster invitee Paul Bako as catching options.
"I'm trying not to look at it, because it'll make me do stuff," Ross said. "I thought it'd be a two-or-three day thing. It's a crucial time because I want to see pitchers, get my at-bats and stuff. I feel like there are enough at-bats here for me if I have to go to the Minor League side. But I can't wait too long because I need to see all our pitchers and build a rapport, which is important at Spring Training.