Editor's note: NESN.com is going to tell the story of the 2012 Red Sox in Bobby Valentine’s words. Each game day, we will select the best Valentine quote that sums up the day for the Red Sox.
When the Red Sox first signed Cody Ross over the offseason, many fans wondered if the career journeyman was even worth the time.
Ross was a 31-year-old outfielder, who was joining his sixth team in nine MLB seasons. Sure, he had won a World Series in his last stop with the San Francisco Giants in 2010, but he was by no means a perennial All-Star or even a reliable starter.
The faith that Ben Cherington and the Red Sox front office showed in Ross, though, looks to be paying off in great measure. Ross has been putting together arguably his finest and most productive year, en route to what may well may be the first 30 home run, 100 RBI season season of his career.
On Thursday night, Ross once again showed why his place in the Red Sox lineup is not only secure but why his play may likely earn him the first All-Star bid of his career.
Ross went 2-for-3 in Boston's victory, slamming a home run to deep center field in the third inning and driving in four of the Red Sox five runs on the night. The outstanding performance puts Ross firmly in elite company on the year, with a .262 batting average, seven home runs and 27 RBIs, good for fifth in the American League.
Ross may not quite be putting up Josh Hamilton-like statistics, but the Red Sox outfielder is more than making good on his one-year, $3 million contract. His improved and consistent play on the year has him not only putting up All-Star caliber number but also having an All-Star impact on manager Bobby Valentine's team.
Valentine has been pleased with Ross' play so far this season, and he showed it with some glowing postgame comments after the Red Sox 5-3 win on Thursday.
"Cody was big [on Thursday]," Valentine said. "Cody will give you everything he has and it's enough for me. He was a very good player [Thursday]."
Ross hasn't been just a good player for the Red Sox this year, he's been damn near fantastic. His numbers may not scream MVP, but he's putting together the sort of campaign you wouldn't necessarily expect from a guy brought in to be the team's fourth outfielder.
All that aside, Ross' success is not only important to his stock as a player but it has been and will continue to be vital to Boston's ultimate success this season.