PHOENIX -- Still recovering from a nagging left calf strain that limited him to just four Spring Training games, D-backs outfielder Cody Ross will head to California on Thursday to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Visalia.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said the earliest Ross will rejoin the big league club is April 8, when the team returns home from a weekend series in Milwaukee.
"If he's ready to go, he'll play the outfield there, but my guess is he'll probably DH first," Gibson said. "We want to make sure he has enough endurance that he doesn't re-injure it. We have to build him up."
Before shipping out, the 32-year-old will hit against three D-backs Minor League pitchers Tuesday at Chase Field in a simulated game. He'll also work through more running drills to test the calf.
"I think he feels pretty good," Gibson said. "It should be better every time he goes out and runs."
Because his disabled list stint was backdated to March 22, Ross is eligible to return Sunday.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.