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03/24/2013 8:15 PM ET

D-backs facing decision time on Ross' status

Outfielder remains cautious in his approach to return from a strained left calf

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It is getting close to the time when the D-backs are going to have to decide whether outfielder Cody Ross starts the year on the roster or on the disabled list.

Ross, who suffered a strain in his left calf area earlier in camp, has not played or run on the field since March 3.

So far, Ross has only run on the AlterG treadmill, which has a harness that allows a percentage of one's body weight to be offloaded. Ross ran on the machine at 60 percent of his body weight.

In addition, Ross has been getting at-bats -- though not running -- in Minor League intrasquad games. Because he's able to hit as often as the team wants him to in those games, Ross got eight at-bats in one and 10 in another.

"I've been hitting, I've been throwing, I've been doing everything," Ross said. "It's a matter of just going out there and making sure I can run the bases and not reaggravate it. That's what is the big concern, trying to push it too much. The next thing you know it's a re-injury, and you're back to square one and it's another four-to-six weeks."

With center fielder Adam Eaton scheduled to miss six-to-eight weeks with an elbow injury, the last thing the D-backs want to do is lose another outfielder for an extended period.

That makes it more likely that they would put Ross on the disabled list to start the year and have him miss a week or two rather than risk a longer absence.

"You open up the season on the DL, fans are upset and everyone is upset," Ross said. "But at the end of the day, it's better if you take the extra time and you're healthy down the stretch as opposed to playing Opening Day and blowing out, and the next thing you know it's the All-Star break and you're trying to get back. These are all the things we're talking about."

Snake bites

• Outfielder Alfredo Marte was optioned to Triple-A Reno earlier in camp, but could be brought back with outfielders Adam Eaton and Cody Ross both injured.

Eaton will start the year on the disabled list, while Ross might, and manager Kirk Gibson said Marte was in the mix now to make the team in their absence.

"Swings the bat good," Gibson said of Marte.

• Pitcher Brandon McCarthy took some at-bats in a Minor League game on Sunday. Gibson has been trying to get McCarthy as many at-bats as possible this spring since he has spent his entire career previously in the American League.

• The D-backs reassigned infielder Mark Teahen and right-hander Eddie Bonine on Sunday.

• The D-backs' Sunday attendance of 12,864 was a Salt River Fields record.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.