The most important thing is that David Ross is healthy. After spending two months on the disabled list because of a concussion, the backup catcher has played two games for the Red Sox and not felt any symptoms.
“Not a thing,” Ross said Sunday. “I’m off the medication I was on, too. It’s back to normal — well, at least as normal as I can be.”
Ross can joke now, but he was worried he would not rejoin the Red Sox this season after suffering a concussion May 11 and another one June 14.
Both came on foul balls that struck him directly in the mask. It took eight weeks, he said, for the headaches, blurred vision, and occasional irritability to fade away. At 36, Ross wondered what it meant for his career.
“It was hard for me to be away from the team and watch what was going on from home,” he said. “It’s a good bunch of guys and they signed me here for a reason. I wanted to be part of it.”
With 30 games left, Ross can still have a significant role for the Sox playing behind Jarrod Saltalamacchia, particularly against certain lefthanded starters.
“I’m seeing the ball better now and I’ve been taking as many swings as I can before games,” said Ross, who is 1 for 8 since being activated. “I think that my offense will come.”
Manager John Farrell expected Ross would need some time to get acclimated.
“It’s more timing at the plate,” he said. “Two months down without facing live pitching and then getting 18 at-bats [in the minors] is difficult.’’
Saltalamacchia is hitting .270 with an impressive .798 OPS, good for seventh among major league catchers. He’ll get the bulk of the games down the stretch. But Ross has value.
“There are things I can add, whether it’s my experience in certain situations or working with the pitchers,” he said. “Whatever I can do at this point is going to make me feel good. We have a great opportunity and I want to be part of that.”
Ross said he is now wearing a standard catcher’s mask instead of the hockey-style helmet he favored. Research is incomplete, but the mask may move more if he is struck by another foul ball and lessen the chances of another concussion.
Bard pitches again
Daniel Bard pitched an inning for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla.
Bard came out of the bullpen to start the fourth inning and walked the first batter he faced before allowing a single.
With one out, an error loaded the bases. Bard then threw a pitch that got past catcher Alixon Suarez, but the runner was thrown out trying to score. A strikeout ended the inning.
It was the first appearance for Bard since May 15. The righthander has been battling control problems for the last 14 months but remains on the 40-man roster. Farrell said Saturday that it is unlikely Bard will return to the majors this season.
Alfredo Aceves, who is on the disabled list with Triple A Pawtucket, also pitched an inning in the game. He walked a batter with one out before getting a double play.
Aceves was taken off the 40-man roster July 15 and is unlikely to be called up when rosters expand Sunday.
Dustin Pedroia was 3 for 4 against the Dodgers on Sunday and is hitting .377 in his last 12 games with an .891 OPS. Pedroia’s batting average, which fell to .291, has climbed to .299 . . . Jon Lester and his wife Farrah held their second annual NVRQT Night at House of Blues across from Fenway Park Monday night to raise money for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.