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Ross was happy to rough it

With his heroics came tough love

Cody Ross dropped his bat and watched the ball after hitting the game winning walk-off three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox July 19. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Cody Ross dropped his bat and watched the ball after hitting the game winning walk-off three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox July 19.
By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / July 21, 2012
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The day after he was feted in an exuberant home plate celebration, Cody Ross stood in front of his locker no worse for wear as he relived the heroics of his three-run walkoff homer with one out in the ninth inning of Thursday night’s 3-1 victory over the White Sox.

Ross was jostled by teammates when greeted at home plate. He had his jersey shredded off his torso by Nick Punto and had a 5-gallon cooler of Powerade dumped on him by closer Alfredo Aceves.

“Without a doubt, I’ve got bruises everywhere right now,’’ Ross said, offering a weary smile before Friday’s game against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

It was Ross’s 16th homer of the season, and, more importantly, the third walkoff homer of his career, resulting in one of the most spontaneous victory celebrations at Fenway this season.

“It’s one of the only times — other than a no-hitter or a perfect game — where you can celebrate by jumping up and down,’’ Ross said. “It’s quite an experience.’’

Any home plate celebration comes with an injury concern after the Angels’ Kendry Morales fractured his ankle two years ago while leaping into the pile after his walkoff home run.

“You’re trying not to step on anybody’s feet when you’re jumping up and down,’’ Ross said. “It’s a little more cautious nowadays.’’

Said Sox manager Bobby Valentine: “Well, I went over to Alfredo after throwing that [cooler] around . . . to make sure he wasn’t hurt. You’re always concerned, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to see it happen again. The more practice you have with those celebrations, the better you get at it.

“I believe in practice.’’

Ross was well-practiced in hitting the three-run homer, having belted a pair in Wednesday night’s 10-1 romp over the White Sox.

So how long did it take for him to come down from his uplifting walkoff hit?

“It took me about an hour to wind down,” Ross said. “When I go home, it doesn’t matter if I go 0 for 4, or 4 for 4, or have a walkoff, I’m generally the same guy.

“I just go home to my family and try to spend time with them and not dwell on a bad game or get overly excited about a good game. I just try to stay even-keeled. I think in this game you have to do that or else you’ll drive yourself crazy with the ups and downs.’’

Salty stuck in rut

With the Red Sox facing Toronto lefthander Aaron Laffey, Valentine opted to have Kelly Shoppach handle the catching duties. It meant the switch-hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who entered the game 0 for his last 13 (with eight strikeouts), remained out of the starting lineup for a third consecutive game.

Saltalamacchia pinch hit in the ninth and whiffed for the final out in the Sox’ 6-1 loss.

Asked if his decision was a matter of giving Saltalamacchia some extra time off, Valentine replied, “He had those days off from the All-Star break. I don’t think he was tired.”

The Red Sox are 20-11 against lefthanded starters, though Saltalamacchia has struggled this season against southpaws with a .179 average (7 for 39).

Bully for Bailey

Andrew Bailey took another positive step in his rehabilitation from right thumb surgery when he threw a bullpen Friday of about 38 pitches.

Valentine said the team had Bailey’s throwing schedule mapped out through next Sunday.

“He’s not ready for a [simulated] game yet, but he threw off the mound today,’’ the manager said.

“He’ll throw another bullpen Sunday, then if we get the field in Texas, early on Wednesday. I think he could throw 15 pitches of BP or so. Then we’ll take it from there.’’

Asked if Bailey is over the forearm strain that hampered his initial rehab stint, Valentine said, “I don’t think he has a health issue to deal with any longer. He now just has a conditioning, a pitch buildup, and a competition challenge ahead of him.’’

Not so fast

After going on the 15-day DL this week for a strained right Achilles’, David Ortiz claimed he would begin hitting again Friday while wearing a boot. But Valentine expressed reservations, saying, “Oh, I doubt that . . . I think we’ve said earlier this season, you don’t have to take everything David says as a literal fact. He might have stood in there and seen some balls. I don’t see much purpose in it . . . It’ll be the medical department that gives him the green light on hitting.’’ . . . Reliever Mark Melancon had a streak of 12 scoreless innings snapped in the ninth Friday when he gave up an RBI double to Yan Gomes . . . Adrian Gonzalez went hitless for just the second time in 25 games . . . Colby Rasmus’s first-inning triple snapped an 0-for-13 drought . . . . The Blue Jays made a 10-player trade with the Astros, acquiring three pitchers: lefthander starter J.A. Happ and righthanded relievers Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter. Toronto gave up righthanded reliever Francisco Cordero, outfielder Ben Francisco, and four minor leaguers . . . The 21st Red Sox wives’ Can and Cash Drive to benefit the Greater Boston Food Bank will continue Saturday. Fans are encouraged to make a cash donation or donate canned food items at any of Fenway’s gates.

Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com.

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