SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Cody Ross was heading to dinner with the Rangers' brass in Dallas in December when his wife showed him a text message from his agent.

The message said the D-backs were very interested in him and wanted to make an offer.

For Ross, who lives not far from the team's Spring Training complex in Scottsdale, it was welcome news indeed.

"My smile was ear to ear," Ross said. "It was crazy how it all unfolded and how quickly it happened. It couldn't have happened any better."

Ross played for the Red Sox last year and had a slash line of .267/.326/.481.

"I was always a big Cody Ross fan," Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said. "To be honest, I would say, at one point we were joking in a meeting in baseball that I should wear a Cody Ross jersey to the next meeting because I was so eager to see us reach out to him. And I do have a great fondness for him and a lot of respect for him. I'm not surprised that an old general manager that I worked with, Kevin Towers, talked him into playing out there."

Ross is expected to start for the D-backs in right field, but manager Kirk Gibson maintains that the battle for playing time in the outfield is wide open at this point.

Gregorius gets in grounders while elbow heals

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius has begun taking ground balls the past few days, though he still is not allowed to swing a bat or make throws.

"I don't like to just sit and do nothing," he said. "I want to play."

Gregorius, who was acquired by the D-backs in December in a three-team trade that involved Trevor Bauer, suffered a slight strain of the ulnar collateral ligament area in his elbow around Christmastime. The team wanted to be extra cautious with him, so he was shut down from swinging a bat or throwing.

"I'll be throwing in a couple of weeks, and next week I'm going to start hitting and we'll take it from there," said Gregorius, ranked No. 3 among the D-backs' top prospects.

The injury scuttled the long shot hopes Gregorius had of making the team out of Spring Training.

Short hops

Outfielder Gerardo Parra and infielder John McDonald will likely be the only two players who will not take part in Friday's first full-squad workout.

Parra's flight was canceled, so he was not set to arrive until Thursday night. He'll need to take his physical at some point Friday before he's allowed on the field.

McDonald, meanwhile, had to return to the East Coast to take care of a family situation. He is expected back sometime over the weekend.

• General manager Kevin Towers likes what he's seen from his pitchers in their first couple of bullpen sessions.

"It looks like everyone's in good shape," Towers said. "Guys really worked hard in the offseason. When I look at 'pens, it's more just where they're at. You can tell who's been throwing and working, they're close to game ready and most of our guys seem ahead of schedule."

• The first four spots in the Arizona rotation are spoken for with Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy and Wade Miley. What order they will pitch in has yet to be determined.

"We'll see how the spring comes out and looking at matchups early this season," Towers said.

The D-backs open the season with three games at home against the Cardinals and then have a day off before going on the road for three games in Milwaukee.