It's Bounce-back Time for Cody Ross

VERO BEACH, Fla.- There were some positive notes that played during the 2005 season for Cody Ross. He got up to the parent Dodgers, if only for an abbreviated stay; he showed power, tying for the Las Vegas lead in home runs; and he managed to keep from going on the disabled list.

The latter would be one item that Cody himself regards as the most important. "That was one of my goals, to stay healthy for the entire year and I did that," he says. Other than that, though, he'll admit, "My season was disappointing- below average."

And he isn't quite sure just why that happened. "I started out strong- had a very good April. Then, I just quit hitting for while. That's the way it went the whole season- I'd be hot, then I'd cool off, and it kept up that way. I never could figure out why. I did close strong, though so that part of it was all right."

As for his time in L.A. "They called me up and we played a series against the Angels. I played every game and I think I did well. Hit the ball hard almost every time up. Then somebody came off the DL so they sat me down and it was about a week before I got in there again and I just can't play well that way."

Told that Jason Repko had remarked that he had trouble adjusting to the same conditions, he replied, "I really think you need older, more experienced players for that kind of role. I watched Olmedo Saenz. He doesn't even seem to warm up, then goes up and delivers. That's hard to do."

Staying healthy had previously been hard for Cody, that's for certain. In his previous incarnation with the Tigers, he made his big league debut and on his third at-bat was hit by a pitch that bruised his tail bone and put him out of the game.

He was sent back down, then was a September call-up. The first game, he achieved a rookie's fantasy with a grand slam. So, what happened next? He tore the ACL in his left knee running out a sac bunt.

The Dodgers got him just before the start of the 2004 season which he alternately spent either playing for Las Vegas or in the hospital. Let's see- he had recurring knee problems; he mashed a finger when a car door slammed on it and climaxed that when, right after he was told he'd get a call-up to the bigs, broke his right wrist or, rather, someone did it for him by hitting him with a pitch.

Sheesh, it got so bad they probably wouldn't stand near him if it started to rain. His chances of getting hit by lightning loomed large. You can see why staying relatively pain-free was a worthy goal.

Right now, though, he's healthy but there are those who are not like Jayson Werth so there could well be an outfield opening. "I know there's a chance so this could be the time," he avows.

He suffered another setback of sorts when his biggest front-office booster, Paul DePodesta, the man who traded for him, was let go. So, he has to impress somebody new. But, then, so does everybody else.

He thus hopes his travails are behind him and he starts playing like that kid who showed so much so early when he first came up with the Tigers.

That's the Cody Ross the Dodgers have been waiting for.