Aceves, Ross crossed up in split-squad game

Aceves, Ross crossed up in split-squad game
February 26, 2013, 2:45 pm
(USA Today Sports)

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In Monday’s split-squad game against the Rays, catcher David Ross went to the mound twice in the first inning to chat with starter Alfredo Aceves after the right-hander had shaken him off a few times. Aceves was just three pitches into the game the first time he called Ross to the mound.
 
When asked about it after the game, Ross deflected any blame from the enigmatic Aceves, saying it’s part of a catcher’s responsibility to learn a new staff.
 
“It’s one of the things that stink as a catcher,” Ross said. “You feel like you ruin a guy’s rhythm sometimes when you’re not on the same page, because I got to know what’s coming and where they want me to set up, where they want the pitches thrown, signs. It’s one of those things. It’s just frustrating for me because I know it’s me. When I’m just not on the same page I got to get right with him. It comes with time. But it’s just one of those things. I’m new and just got to figure out the things they like me to do. That’s every pitcher.”
 
Ross has been with five other teams -- the Braves, Dodgers, Reds, Pirates, and Padres, along with a brief stint with the Red Sox in 2008 -- in his 11-season career. So getting comfortable with a new staff is not new to him. It just takes time. When he goes to the mound, as he did on Monday, he’s just looking for the basics.
 
“Just ‘What do you want?’ ” Ross said. “If he’s shaking me off three or four times and I can’t get it right, I just ask him what pitch do you want to throw. Making sure we’re on the same page as far as what sign we want to go with.  Sometimes if I go fastball away and then fastball in and curveball, slider, I may have forgot the changeup or he wanted fastball up. Little things like that. It’s just me still being new and messing up everybody’s rhythm right there.
                                     
“I would rather him call me out there and get on the same page, for sure. I want to get it right from the get-go.”
 
Ross is known as a good defensive catcher and game-caller, one pitchers like throwing to. But, even with his experience there is still a learning process. It generally takes a handful of times working with each pitcher, side sessions as well as games, to feel comfortable.
 
“You try to feel comfortable as fast as you can,” he said. “But there’s always things that come up that you’re learning, and you’re always trying to figure out how to get the best out of your pitchers. I don’t think it ever ends, me trying to figure out what works best for them. The comfort level just comes. I was more comfortable [Monday] with [Daniel Bard]. But four or five times, I would guess. It’s different with every person.”