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October 7, 2013

Numbers don't do Red Sox' Ross justice

BOSTON — A big selling point for David Ross to sign with the Red Sox this past offseason was the chance to work with talented pitchers such as Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz.

Ross helped Sox pitchers post a 3.79 ERA this year after a dreadful 4.70 last year. They also recorded a franchise-record 1,294 strikeouts and 8.0 strikeouts per nine innings.

“This is a blast for me,” said Ross, who was on the disabled list for two months due to a concussion. “This is a great time to be a catcher for the Red Sox because it’s fun to catch these guys. It’s fun to compete with them. ... It’s just a good group that just prepares well and has a lot of fun.”

Ross and the Red Sox play Game 3 of their American League Division Series today in Tampa Bay at 6:07 p.m. Boston is ahead 2-0 in the best-of-five series and will go for the sweep with Buchholz on the mound opposite Tampa righty Alex Cobb.

Ross started Game 2. He doubled and scored a run.

Similar to Jonny Gomes, Ross is only a backup and didn’t have a great year offensively (.216 batting average and .298 on-base percentage in just 116 plate appearances), but he garners as much respect as anyone in Boston’s clubhouse.

“David brings a scouting report that’s second to none with guys he’s caught and the success he’s had,” Gomes said.

Red Sox hurlers had a stellar 3.12 ERA in the 36 games he caught and he has a fine 41 percent caught-stealing rate. He has helped Jarrod Saltalamacchia improve his defense, his calling of a game, his preparation and his throwing.

Like Gomes, Ross is constantly prepared.

Dustin Pedroia said, “Their approach to the game — whether they are in the lineup or not — they are going to try to find a way to help us win. Whether it’s saying something to a starter, getting in the game or whatever their role is that day.”

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