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.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

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The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.