Red Sox pregame notes: David Ross back with team with no timetable for return; Jonny Gomes gets the start in left; Jose Contreras and Brandon Lyon offer insurance with Pawtucket

July 25, 2013 - 2:30 pm
David Ross is back... kind of. The backup catcher, who since May 11 has played eight games and been on the DL with a concussion twice, was back in the Red Sox clubhouse Thursday afternoon, though there is no timetable for his return as he slowly works his way back into baseball environment and routine. Ross said he is '€œvery confident'€ he will play again this season. '€œI'€™m feeling a lot better. It was rough there for a while, but I'€™m getting back,'€ Ross said. '€œThe guys have been playing well and I'€™m just glad to be back around these guys. I missed them a lot.'€ Ross had his third visit with Dr. Michael Collins, a concussion specialist in Pittsburgh, on Wednesday and said he passed all of his tests, though a return to game action still seems aways off. He will watch three or so innings of the Red Sox-Rays matchup Thursday night, the first step in slowly transitioning back into the daily routine. Friday will feature some light baseball activity '€” mostly just throwing '€” in Baltimore at about 50 percent, according to manager John Farrell. Most of Ross'€™ issues have to do with his vestibular system, which in effect controls one'€™s balance. He has felt no concussion symptoms for the last three days '€” '€œwhich is a big deal,'€ he said '€” but for a while that was not the case. Headaches, an unsettled stomach and irritability plagued him for much of the time he has been out since being re-placed on the DL in mid-June. Ross, as well as the doctors, is wary of rushing things. Doing too much too soon can lead to a setback, which is the last thing he wants. '€œThere'€™s still a threshold, they were telling me yesterday, that could push me to things not being good,'€ Ross said. '€œThey want to get passed that, so when I do take a foul ball or have something, there'€™s no panic there. I'€™ll be back to normal and everything '€” I guess semi-normal in my head. I don'€™t know how normal I was before.'€ That'€™s what happened the last time around. After an eight-game stint with the big league team at the end of May and beginning of June, Ross was re-placed on the DL in mid-June and was shut down shortly thereafter. He returned to his Florida home to let the symptoms subside, which they slowly but surely have. Farrell finds value in Ross'€™ presence, even if his day-to-day activity to varied and slight. '€œThis is one of the most respected guys in our clubhouse,'€ Farrell said. '€œHe'€™s full of life and energy, and I think for some of the younger guys there might be a calming influence just based on what he'€™s experienced.'€ To a certain degree, Ross was just happy to be back with the teammates that texted him daily while he was out. He has had about enough of watching the games on television. '€œI'€™ve yelled at the TV too many nights,'€ Ross said. '€œI'€™m glad to be back so I can yell from the dugout.'€ OTHER RED SOX NOTES -- Farrell said Jonny Gomes getting the start in left field over Daniel Nava was a matchups issue. Gomes is 3-for-7 with a home run off of Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson, while Nava is just 1-for-10 with a walk. -- Andrew Bailey'€™s surgery will keep him out in the neighborhood of about 12 months, according to the manager. '€œThere was repair done to both the labrum as well as the capsule,'€ Farrell said. '€œIf there was any needs as far as the rotator cuff, that was minimal.'€ -- Farrell has gotten good reports on veteran hurlers Jose Contreras and Brandon Lyon, both of whom are with Pawtucket for the time being. Contreras tossed two scoreless innings and struck out three Wednesday, while Lyon gave up two runs (one earned) in his lone inning of work. '€œJust reading the report that came through [on Contreras], decent velocity '€” low 90s velocity '€” he still has a swing and miss to the split, at least is what he'€™s showing while in Pawtucket,'€ Farrell said. '€œThe durability is there in terms of length inside a given outing. '€œIn just talking with [Pawtucket manager] Gary DiSarcina, both he and Brandon Lyon had been eager to get on the mound. They both had about 10 days down before they signed and reported to Pawtucket. They know that there'€™s opportunity here, and when that presents itself at the major leagues is to be determined. But two veteran guys that are in good shape and healthy."