Ross tallies two RBIs hours after signing with A's
OAKLAND -- Cody Ross has been around the block, and then some, playing for a slew of teams during the last decade. On Tuesday, he joined his eighth organization for the start of his 12th season, arriving in Oakland to provide added outfield help for an injury-ridden A's club that's without Coco Crisp for several weeks.
With lefty Ross Detwiler throwing for the opposing Rangers, A's manager Bob Melvin wasted no time getting his latest reinforcement in the lineup. Ross, who will play regularly against southpaws, drew a start in right field and hit second in the lineup in a 10-0 Oakland win.
"It's definitely nice to get the monkey off your back and be part of a really good game all the way around," said Ross, 34, who went 1-for-5 with two RBIs.
The A's contacted Ross almost immediately after he was released from the D-backs on Saturday. So did several other teams, but none he saw as good of a fit as the A's.
"To be honest with you, I couldn't be any more excited," he said. "I know how much fun this team has had in the past and how successful they've been. That had a lot to do with the decision I made.
"From the outside looking in, it's just a team that has a lot of passion, plays the game the right way, plays hard. Does all the little things right. That's the type of team I want to play on. Just a bunch of grinders that go out and play hard and want to win on a nightly basis."
Looking around at the green and gold, Ross was hard-pressed to find a former teammate, "which would be a new record for me, because I'm the Kevin Bacon of baseball," he joked. "It's like six degrees of separation for me."
The D-backs are responsible for the $9.5 million owed to Ross, while the A's will only have to cover a prorated portion of the minimum salary. The veteran outfielder acknowledged how important dollar signs became to him in the middle stages of his career.
"Then you get a little older," he said, "and the main focus is on winning and getting back into the playoffs. It's definitely something that's been burning in me for a while."
Arizona didn't provide that, but Ross also concedes he didn't perform for them, either -- in part because of injury. He suffered a dislocated hip in late 2013 that required season-ending surgery, and he hit just .252/.306/.322 with two home runs in 219 plate appearances upon his return last year.
His career average sits just above that, at .263 -- including .294 against lefties, and he said he feels great physically, no longer worried about how his body is going to bounce back from back-to-back starts, or even one.
"Last year," he said, "I probably came back a little too soon, ended up costing myself my job."
Ross said he was "blindsided," "upset" and "bitter" upon his release, "but you sit back and look at the way the roster is made up and what they're trying to do, it just wasn't a fit," he said. "To be honest with you, I don't want to be on a rebuilding sort of team. I love all those guys and wish them nothing but the best, but I think my aspirations were a little higher. It's sort of a blessing."
• Outfielder Billy Burns was optioned to Triple-A Nashville to make room on the 25-man roster for Ross, while outfielder Alex Hassan was designated for assignment to clear space on the 40-man.
Of Burns, who hit .373 and made his first Opening Day roster, despite not appearing in either of the first two games, Melvin said, "He made the team out of spring. He should hang his hat on that. He should be proud with what he accomplished because making the team was special."