Cody Ross agrees to join A's following release by Diamondbacks

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Cody Ross scurried onto the field only a couple of minutes after his new teammates, rushing to get acclimated after going straight to the ballpark from the airport.

The free agent outfielder signed with the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday after his release by Arizona last weekend. He was in the lineup playing right field and batting second Wednesday night in the finale of an opening three-game series against Texas.

Ross said several teams expressed interest, and he had a good vibe about the A's.

"I know how much fun this team's had in the past and how successful they've been," Ross said. "That had a lot to do with the decision I made. I heard a lot of great things about Bob Melvin and all the coaching staff and the way the front office runs things. I'm just excited to be here and help out."

The A's optioned outfielder Billy Burns to Triple-A Nashville and designated outfielder Alex Hassan for assignment.

It was a cost-efficient move for Oakland, which will only be responsible for $499,180, a pro-rated portion of the $507,500 league minimum, Ross was guaranteed $8.5 million this year as part of his contract with Arizona.

Melvin spoke to former Oakland bench coach Chip Hale, now the Diamondbacks manager, about Ross' strong sprinh training. The plan is for Ross to be in the lineup against left-handed starters.

"With a couple outfielders down, we feel he can increase the outfield depth and give us quite a bit of help against left-handed pitching," Melvin said. "He can hit left-handed pitching. He's got some power, he's got some experience. I know he's really excited to be here."

Ross said he told Melvin he would be ready to handle any role necessary and he would stay ready.

Ross' stay in the East Bay won't necessarily be long-term, given right fielder Josh Reddick is expected to return Saturday from a stint on the disabled list with an oblique injury.

For now, joining a contender means a lot to Ross.

The 34-year-old Ross, the NL Championship Series MVP for the San Francisco Giants in 2010, batted .256 with six RBIs in 16 games during spring training before his release Saturday. He played in 83 games last year with two stints on the DL, batting .252 with two home runs and 15 RBIs.

Leaving the D-backs was a shock.

"It caught me off guard. I was definitely blindsided and obviously upset and had some bitter feelings," he said. "You sit back and look at the way the roster's made up and what they're trying to do and it just wasn't a fit. To be honest with you, I don't want to be on a rebuilding team."