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
"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
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
"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.
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).