Notes: Ross ecstatic to stick around

Dodgers notes: Ross to stick around

LOS ANGELES -- They use fluorescent lighting in the Dodgers' clubhouse, but the area around Cody Ross' locker Friday afternoon had its own illumination.

Ross was beaming after learning from manager Grady Little that he'd earned a spot as the club's sixth outfielder.

The news ended a period of mystery for Ross, as the Dodgers deliberated over whether to designate the outfielder for assignment. Meanwhile, with center fielder Kenny Lofton coming off the disabled list Friday, general manager Ned Colletti weighed his alternatives. The Dodgers couldn't send Ross to the Minors because he was out of options, and weeks of trying to trade him had turned up no players of equal value.

While the six-outfielder situation is less than ideal, Little brushed it off before Friday's series opener with San Francisco, saying, "We're going with this alignment for as many games as we can. I can't tell you how long it's going to go."

Ross is just glad to have his game of "What If?" behind him.

"I prepared myself for whatever was going to happen, either way," Ross said, adding that since Little gave him the news, "It's been pretty cool getting a lot of media attention, going in the spotlight."

So far, he said, ESPN had interviewed him, and local TV cameras gathered around him as he spoke.

"I'm trying to be humble about [the attention]," he said. "My teammates have been pretty cool so far, but I'm sure I'll get more grief about it in the next few days."

The turning point in the Ross scenario came Thursday, when he hit a grand slam and a three-run home run in a 13-5 victory at Pittsburgh.

"All during the past week, it was like I was auditioning," Ross said. "I knew every at-bat counted."

When the grand slam came, he said, "I had to hold in the smiles, not show my excitement going around first and second base. Then, when I got to the dugout, it was great."

Little was asked about Ross' reaction when he told him he'd remain a Dodger.

"That guy's had a big smile on his face since the day I met him," Little said, "so I really couldn't say."

Seriously, though, Little added, "He's been doing a great job. ... When the door opened for him, he was ready."

Friday was "the second-best day of my life, after my wedding date," Ross said, adding, after a well-timed couple of beats, "I guess I have to say that."

Opening Day for Lofton: Little said all care went into the decision to start Lofton in center on Friday, especially with rain hammering Southern California and the possibility of a wet field's effect on Lofton's recovering left calf. After a lengthy rain delay, Jason Repko was in a soaked center field.

"We were careful about the surface, and [bench coach] Dave Jauss checked out the situation in center field," the manager said. "We've been watching him very closely. We're excited about having him back in there."

Lofton's appearance -- batting second in the Dodgers order behind Rafael Furcal -- will mark the 10th Major League club for which he's played. Mike Morgan holds the record with 12. Lofton is one of only nine players in the history of the game to play for 10 or more Major League teams.

Ross gloss: According to baseball historian David Vincent, Ross' seven-RBI performance on Thursday was the first time a Dodger had driven in that many since Shawn Green had seven at Milwaukee on May 23, 2002. Ron Cey holds the Los Angeles Dodgers record with eight in a game at San Diego on July 31, 1974. Darryl Strawberry is the only other Dodger to have hit a grand slam and a three-run homer in one game (Aug. 21, 1991).

Ted Brock is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.