Ross not concerned about 2011 collapse


Ross not concerned about 2011 collapse

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After the way last season ended for the Red Sox, it might have scared off a number of prospective free agents.

After all, a history-making slide coupled with a toxic clubhouse environment isn't exactly the best incentive to attract players.

But Cody Ross, who signed a one-year, 3 million deal with the Red Sox in January, was never dissuaded.

"I just thought it was a great fit,'' said Ross after arriving in camp Tuesday. "There were quite a few options that I had, but at the end of the day, I felt like this was the best situation for me. I felt like this team was on the right track, trying to get to that next level and win championship.

"I talked to a few guys before about it and everyone was obviously down about last year, but looking forward to this year and coming in and trying to repeat what they've done in the past. I'm looking forward to being a part of it.''

Ross is joining his sixth organization, having spent almost all of his career in the National League.

He learned about the Red Sox struggles and dysfunction only after it was done. In September, he had other things with which to concern himself.

"To be quite honest with you,'' he said, "I really didn't realize it all that much because we were going through our own struggles (in San Francisco) ourselves -- to have a team win a World Series and not even come back and make the playoffs? That's terrible.

"I was trying to focus on that. I really didn't know what was going on until the off-season -- (the Sox) and the (Atlanta) Braves had similar slides going down the stretch. It didn't affect my decision (to sign here). I knew everyone in here wanted to go to that next level.

"They want to play in the playoffs. If anything it helped (to make my decision).''

This season represents a fresh start for the Sox, who have a new manager, a new general manager, a new spring training complex, and several new players.

Ross is part of that makeover. He not only has a reputation for someone who crushes lefthanded pitching, but he's also regarded as a high character player.

"I knew the changes that they made,'' said Ross. "They're trying to get a different feel, a different look. I felt like I'd be a perfect fit coming in, maybe bringing some different energy.''

Ross is in the mix for right field, battling, among others, Ryan Sweeney, Darnell McDonald, and when he's healthy, Ryan Kalish.

Given the Red Sox' pursuit of him and his salary, it would seem that he'll be a regular, but he's taking nothing for granted.

"I feel like I have to earn a job every single year,'' he said. "I like that feeling. It puts that good pressure on you -- to go out and perform and not feel (too) comfortable.''

Having played in the N.L. since 2004, Ross's exposure to Fenway has been limited to a few interleague visits. As a natural pull hitter, it's an inviting ballpark, seemingly tailored for him.

"It's suited for any righthander's swing,'' he said. "I do hit a lot of fly balls to left field. It can help. But it can also hurt you. If you sit there and you're conscious of trying to hit the ball over The Wall every time you get up there, chances are it's not going to happen.

"So I'm just going to stay with my approach -- my approach that I've had for years and years will play well.''

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

The Coyotes have hired former player Craig Cunningham as a pro scout, keeping the 26-year-old in hockey after a cardiac episode ended his playing career this season. 

Drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cunningham played 34 games for Boston over parts of two seasons before he was waived and claimed by Arizona. He totaled 19 games for the Coyotes, but served as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team’s AHL affiliate. 

Cunningham was hospitalized after he collapsed during pregame warmups on Nov. 19. He was kept alive by continual CPR, but had his lower left leg amputated the next months due to an infection from the episode. 

Known as a high-character player who was popular with his teammates, Cunningham’s transition to scouting lets him further his career after a scary break. 

"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my life with the Coyotes," Cunningham said in a statement released by the team. "I'm very grateful to John Chayka, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes and Roadrunners organizations, and all of the great fans across Arizona for the incredible support I've received over the past year. I'm looking forward to helping the Coyotes and I can't wait to get started in my new role."

Said Chayka, the team’s general manager: ”We're thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout. Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We're confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club."

Quick Slants the Podcast: Who's been better for the Patriots, Welker or Edelman?

Quick Slants the Podcast: Who's been better for the Patriots, Welker or Edelman?

Phil Perry and Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran debate which receiver has been better for the Patriots: Wes Welker or Julian Edelman? It's part of this edition of Quick Slants The Podcast.