Originally a fourth-round pick of the Tigers in the 1999 draft, Ross worked his way through the minors and reached Triple-A in 2003, where his performance earned him Detroit's minor league player of the year honors and a brief Major League call-up. After he was traded to the Dodgers following the season, Ross continued to show solid hitting tools over two more full years in Triple-A, seeing brief time with Los Angeles in 2005. He began the season with the Dodgers in 2006 but was quickly shipped to the Reds on April 24. The Reds sent him just as quickly to the Marlins on May 26.
Though Ross had been something of a journeyman early on in his burgeoning big-league career, he would end up sticking with Florida despite a couple more seasons of inconsistent playing time. Ross didn't make a huge impact the rest of the 2006 season, putting up a line of .212/.284/.396 in 279 plate appearances, and only played in 73 games between in 2007 (though he did put up an impressive .335/.411/.653 line with 12 home runs in a small sample size of 197 plate appearances).
Finally earning a starting outfield spot in 2008, Ross took advantage and became a solid presence in the lineup for the Marlins. Playing mostly center field with the occasional start in right field, Ross notched an OPS of .804 in 2008 and .790 in 2009, with a combined OPS + of 105 and 46 total home runs over the two seasons.
Ross' numbers dipped slightly over his first 120 games with Florida in 2010, with an OPS of .721 at the time he was sent to San Francisco. Performance wasn't the reason the Marlins let him go, though; it was about money, as it often is with the Fish. With Florida out of the playoff race (10.5 games behind the Phillies in the NL East and eight games back in the Wild Card), team management decided to cut costs for the next season. Ross was already making $4.45 million in 2010 and was due for a raise in 2011, his final year of arbitration.The Marlins elected to send him to the contending Giants instead of keeping Ross around and having to pay him a higher salary. Florida didn't receive anything in return for Ross, as the two teams couldn't work out a trade after San Francisco placed a waiver claim on him. The Giants reportedly only placed a claim to keep Ross away from the division-rival San Diego Padres, who were looking for an outfielder and had Ross in their sights
The Marlins took it hard, especially good friend Dan Uggla. The second baseman called it a "really sad day," and "a huge blow to this clubhouse."
Ross went on to have a huge impact on the Giants' World Series-winning playoff run in 2010. He exploded for three home runs and three doubles over 23 plate appearances against the Phillies in the NLCS, earning series MVP honors. He has played for two other teams since, most recently the Diamondbacks; his season ended on August 11 when he dislocated his right hip.