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Retiring David Ross moved — and surprised — by pre-game ceremony

A season of great moments keeps getting better for Cubs catcher David Ross.

The retiring veteran was surprised — stunned might be more accurate — by a pre-game ceremony honoring his 15-year major-league career. It included a video montage of highlights of Ross’ career — he won the World Series with current Cub teammates Jon Lester and John Lackey with the Red Sox in 2013. And most of all, it included his wife and children, longtime friends and his teammates. It was an emotional moment on the field and even when discussing it with reporters after Friday’s 5-0 victory over the Cardinals.

“When you’re a back-up catcher and kind of a journeyman and been on a bunch of different teams, just trying to find your way through the major leagues and do the best you can and then you get a moment like that is pretty cool,”  the 39-year-old Ross said. 

Ross is hitting .230 with nine home runs and 31 RBIs this season. His .773 OPS is his highest since 2010. But numbers don’t tell the story of his contribution to the team or his enjoyment of it.

Cubs catcher David Ross (right) acknowledges the crowd as he is honored before Friday's game against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. The 39-year-old Ross is retiring after this season. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

“It’s more than I coud ever imagine as a way to go out,” Ross said. “To start in spring training —  that was the best spring training I’ve ever had, as far as just how much fun and the interaction with the guys and the way they treated me.

“It’s gone on all year. The way these guys treat me — I don’t understand it, but it’s nice.”

Return of Strop

Reliever Pedro Strop, pitching for the first time since Aug. 10 after suffering a torn left meniscus, pitched a scoreless eighth inning. He walked Jhonny Peralta on four pitches, but struck out Kolten Wong and induced pinch-hitter Brandon Moss to hit into a double play.

“That was exciting,” Strop said. “Especially feeling the way I feel — I feel really good. The first hitter, my four-seamer was kind of off. And then I just started throwing my two-seamer and it was there, so I was all right. It was nice to be back in a real game.”

Future stars?

The Cubs brought minor league player of the year Eloy Jimenez and minor league pitcher of the year   Trevor Clifton to Wrigley Field on Friday.

Jimenez, 19, a 6-4, 205-pound outfielder, hit .329 with a .901 OPS (14 home runs, 91 RBIs) for  Class A South Bend in 2016. He said the influx of young players on the current big-league team “is great motivation. I they can get up here and have success, why can’t I?”

Clifton, a 21-year-old right-hander who was drafted in the 12th round in 2013, was 7-7 qwith a 2.72 ERA for high-A Myrtle Beach.

“I made a couple of adjustments [this season],” Clifton said. “I’ve studied hitters more … learned what they could and couldn’t hit. I stuck to the strong side of my game and executed it.”

Bits and pieces

Anthony Rizzo went 3-for-5 with an RBI to give him 105 for the season — second in the NL behind the Rockies’ Nolan Aernado (128). … Rizzo also made a nifty defensive play, charging a sacrifice attempt by Cardinals starter Mike Leake to start a 3-5-4 double play in the third inning … Miguel Montero picked Matt Adams off first base in the fourth inning. … Jason Hammel (15-9, 3.56) faces Cardinals right-hander Alex Reyes (3-1, 1.03) at 12:05 p.m. Saturday.