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Ross may start season on DL


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LAKELAND, Fla. -- Braves manager Bobby Cox doesn't want to begin the season with David Ross on the disabled list. But if Ross is still struggling with his strained right groin, Clint Sammons seems prepared to provide adequate production in the backup catcher role.

With Ross sidelined after straining his groin Tuesday, Sammons took advantage of the invitation to return to the big league setting. The 25-year-old catcher highlighted his two-hit performance in Wednesday afternoon's 9-3 win over the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium with a solo homer.

Sammons, who hit .148 in 54 at-bats with Atlanta last year, adjusted his swing with the help of Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton during the offseason. The adjustment has helped him hit .455 (10-for-22) with three homers in nine Grapefruit League games.

"It's an amazing feeling when you can get to some pitches that you couldn't get to in the past," Sammons said. "It makes it a little easier on you."

Ross, who signed a two-year, $3 million contract in December, will continue to be evaluated over the next few days before his Opening Day status is determined. The 32-year-old catcher has hit three homers this spring and impressed the Braves with a strong arm and good leadership skills.

"Ross is a good backup catcher," Cox said. "He's a good catch-and-throw guy and he's always in the game while he's on the bench. He's really a team guy."

Starting catcher Brian McCann has been dealing with a series of aches and pains this week. A foul tip bruised his right ring finger on Saturday, and when he returned to the lineup on Monday, he was struck just above the right knee with another foul ball.

McCann's latest bruise provides discomfort when he attempts to squat into a catcher's stance. He served as a designated hitter on Wednesday but might get back behind the plate as early as Thursday.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Wow. Corky hitting over .400? :o I think it's pretty safe to say that won't last.

Sucks that Ross is possibly headed to the DL. He's been great this spring. It seems like every game he throws out a base-stealer. Clint is going to have to step up.

BTW, have the Phillies announced who their opening day starter is going to be?

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