Swing Time: Ex-Cubs catcher Ross on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2016, file photo, Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross celebrates after Game 6 of the National League baseball championship series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Chicago. Ross, who retired after helping the Cubs win the World Series last year, is part of the 24th season of “Dancing with the Stars,” and his former teammates are excited to watch the ex-catcher on the show. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

MESA, Ariz. (AP) The Chicago Cubs think David Ross could be a real factor this season. He has excellent footwork, knows the swing and can handle a partner, all the elements needed to win a championship – on ”Dancing with the Stars.”

Popular with teammates and fans, Ross retired last fall after hitting a home run in Game 7 that helped the Cubs win the World Series. On Wednesday, the former catcher was part of the cast ABC unveiled for the 24th season of the reality competition.

Ross will be the first major leaguer to appear on the show, which has often been won by NFL, Olympic and race car champions. He got connected with ”Dancing with the Stars” when a producer emailed his agent, Ryan Gleichowski.

At first, Ross said they thought it was some sort of prank.

”I still wasn’t sure up until a few days ago that I really wanted to do it,” he told The Associated Press in a phone interview, ”because it’s something that makes me extremely nervous and uncomfortable. But I’ve done some things outside my box this year and I’ve had such a phenomenal year.”

”The love that I’ve received from my teammates and the fans of Chicago is just, all that put into one, I convinced myself to give it a try,” Ross said.

NL Most Valuable Player Kris Bryant is rooting for ”Grandpa Rossy” – that’s the nickname the younger Cubs playfully gave him last year.

”I don’t know if he’s worked out all offseason,” a grinning Bryant said. ”He looks the same to me, though. Obviously,…