2011 was supposed to be the year that Ryan Kalish polished up his game, and prepared himself to take over in rightfield in Boston. After all, J.D. Drews’ contract expires after this season and Kalish did a great job, playing in more than 50 games in Boston last year. The Sox brass wanted Ryan to play every day in Pawtucket and they obviously felt comfortable with Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald as their extra outfielders. Sometimes, things don’t go “According to Hoyle”.
Kalish hasn’t played since late April after injuring his shoulder while diving for a ball in the outfield at McCoy Stadium. Kalish has spent weeks in Fort Myers rehabbing at Extended Spring Training. They are on hiatus in Florida, getting ready for the start of the Gulf Coast League season and as a result, both Kalish and Yamaico Navarro are back in the PawSox clubhouse. Kalish is dying to return to action. “It’s been frustrating, but at the same time, my shoulder has been doing really well. I could’ve had surgery. I’m just excited that it looks like now there will be a good chance of me playing in the not too distant future.” Kalish, while frustrated has things in perspective. “I just have to count my blessings. Life could be a lot worse. There are a lot of people that come to mind when I say that. In my own personal journey, I could’ve had surgery, like I said and I wouldn’t be playing until next year. I’m just excited to get back. I was down in Florida and not watching too much baseball. It’s good to back at least watching and getting back into it.”
Extended Spring Training is notorious for two things. The heat and the boredom. Once you have finished the rehab for the day, you just wait until tomorrow. “You’ve got to find stuff to do. For me, I was done around 2:00 in the afternoon and I had the rest of the day to find something to do. I’d take a nap. I saw a bunch of movies. Like I said, I’m excited to be back.” Kalish made the most of the opportunity to help younger guys get through the tedium of the day. “I actually made a good new friend. Matt Price. He’s 21, out of virginia Tech. We met, it was cool. He’s a really good kid.” Price is a right handed pitcher, drafted in the eighth round in 2010. Kalish himself, is still just 23, but with Big League time under his belt as one of the crown jewels in the Sox organization, he served as a mentor down south. “I just tried to help the younger guys and it was cool. I got to help out a lot of people. It’s what guys used to do for me when I was down there. Kind of a reversed role. I tried to give guys advice and help people out. Hopefully give them a little piece that can help them.”
While most of the pundits say that Kalish will rehab with the Lowell Spinners, Ryan, himself, isn’t so sure. “I don’t know. I might not even…I’m just here to get healthy. That decision isn’t mine and it will come when it’s time.” Kalish couldn’t estimate when he’d be back in action, but he’s closer today, than ever. “I can’t, I can’t. I’m out there throwing. Now I think it’ll be more towards me playing in the outfield right away, rather than DH-ing. Especially with the extra time. We’ll see. It all depends on how I feel. When I feel ready and the training staff is comfortable with it, I’ll be ready to go.”