DUNEDIN, Fla.

Cody Ross heard about the clubhouse issues that contributed to the collapse of the Red Sox last season. But he didn’t believe the notion that the team was somehow lacking in character.

Ross has played for five teams in his eight major league seasons and became acquainted with many of the Red Sox players, directly or indirectly. He saw a team in need of some changes, but not a major restructuring.

“ I knew it wasn’t a bad clubhouse because I knew a lot of the guys on the team,” Ross said Wednesday after the Sox played to a 3-3 tie with the Blue Jays. “In my opinion, I felt it was a good clubhouse. I didn’t know everything that happened, but I knew enough. When they called me, I didn’t shy away.”

Ross signed with the Sox in late January, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $3 million. When general manager Ben Cherington contacted Ross, one of his selling points was the idea that the 31- year-old outfielder had the kind of personality Cherington valued.

One of Cherington’s goals when he replaced Theo Epstein was to take chemistry into account when building the team — not at the expense of talent, but perhaps as a larger part of the equation than it was in the past.

That’s what helped lead to the Sox signing Ross and infielder Nick Punto and pursuing Andrew Bailey in a trade.

Ross is a righthanded hitter with power — something that attracted the Red Sox. He is a career .282 hitter against lefthanders with a .912 OPS, things that could play well in a division featuring lefties CC Sabathia, David Price and Ricky Romero. Ross also brings the versatility of being able to play all three outfield positions.

In 2010, after joining the San Francisco Giants in August, he hit five home runs and drove in 15 runs in 10 postseason games. Ross stayed with the Giants after helping them win the World Series, but hit only .240 last season with a .730 OPS. That allowed the Red Sox to get him at a discount somewhat late in the process.

“I really like what I’ve seen so far,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “That loft power, the fact that he’s played in that postseason stuff. His age. Feeling he could make the transition to our environment.”

Ross also should prove helpful to Valentine because of the breadth of his experience.

“I’ve done it all,” he said. “I came up as basically a bench player. I worked my way into being a platoon player and worked my way into a starting role.

“I haven’t been a starter my whole career. I’m comfortable in a lot of different roles. However, Bobby wants to use me, that’s great. I came here to win.”

After getting a ring with the Giants, playing for a contender was important.

“There’s nothing like it,” said Ross. “I wouldn’t know how to go to the field and not feel that way anymore. The idea of going to the field every day and thinking, ‘Well, we’re not going anywhere. I hope I get a few knocks,’ I hate that.”



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