SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A sheepish grin crossed Cody Ross' face when he was asked if Monday was his first time running on the field since last summer's hip surgery.
"Today was the first official day for me to run on the ground," he said.
Ross then admitted that when he's been in the outfield during batting practice he has done some running to track down fly balls.
Ross appears to be ahead of schedule in his rehab from the broken and dislocated right hip he suffered last August, and there is optimism that he will be ready for March 31, when the D-backs open at home against the Giants.
Prior to Monday, the only official running Ross had done was on a treadmill that lifts a certain percentage of a person's body weight and in the pool treadmill the D-backs have in their training room.
Ross was told he could participate in the team's paintball game Monday afternoon, but that he had to limit his movement.
"Last year, I was one of the front-line guys that charged forward," he said. "This year, I will hold back and protect the flag and hopefully be the last man standing."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.