Rehabbing from hip surgery, Cody Ross on track for spring debut in mid-March

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Cody Ross required season-ending surgery last August after he sustained a fracture and dislocation of his right hip, an injury you don’t often hear about with a baseball player, but he’s getting closer to returning to game action.

According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said today that Ross could make his Cactus League debut around March 13 if all goes well. His recovery has gone smoothly so far, as he ran earlier this month for the first time since surgery and was cleared to take part in most spring training activities.

The Diamondbacks haven’t officially ruled Ross out for the start of the season, but it’s highly unlikely he’ll be ready for the series against the Dodgers in Australia from March 22-23. However, a return at some point in April appears possible.

Ross, 33, batted .278/.331/.413 with eight home runs and 38 RBI in 94 games last season before his hip injury. He’ll likely split playing time with Gerardo Parra in right field once he’s back to full health.

Another young fan was struck by a foul ball, this time at Guaranteed Rate Field

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ESPN reports via the Associated Press that a young boy was struck by a line drive foul ball but was not seriously injured during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals. The boy and a woman were escorted by a first aid crew to the concourse area and the boy was later eating ice cream in a luxury suite.

A woman was struck in the face by a foul ball also on the first base side at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, but she didn’t request medical assistance.

Last week, a young fan at Yankee Stadium was hit by a line drive foul ball, which motivated several teams to commit to extending protective netting at their ballparks. The Yankees, strangely, were not among them. Nor were the White Sox.

Diamondbacks clinch NL Wild Card

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Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.

The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.