Cody Ross still sidelined with strained left calf muscle, questionable for Opening Day

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Diamondbacks outfielder Cody Ross was removed from a Cactus League game on March 3 against the Giants with discomfort in his lower left leg. It’s been two weeks and his return to action is not close.

According to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, Ross — who was officially diagnosed with a left calf strain — has barely even attempted to jog at a normal pace on the leg. “It’s just been slow,” manager Kirk Gibson told reporters on Saturday. “He’s done really no full weight-bearing stuff running-wise. He’s not ready for it. I think he went in the pool yesterday. I think the next step will be the Ultra G [treadmill], which they can unload some of the weight when he runs.”

It’s very possible that the 32-year-old will open the 2013 regular season on the 15-day disabled list.

Ross signed a three-year, $26 million contract with the Snakes this winter after batting .267/.326/.481 with 22 home runs and 81 RBI in 130 games last season with the Red Sox. He’ll start in right field once he’s healthy.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.