“I Will Be Back As Soon As I Humanly Can Be” — Ryan Kalish

On Tuesday, it will be two months since Ryan Kalish injured his left shoulder while making a diving catch at McCoy Stadium.   

(Photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

A few days later, Kalish said that he hoped to be back in action in a month.  Now that Ryan has been out for twice that long, is the 23-year-old outfielder still confident that he will play again this season?

“Absolutely,” Kalish told me.  “I’ve experienced some setbacks and it’s been frustrating, but at the same time, we were also possibly looking at shoulder surgery and I think we’ve avoided that.  I plan on playing at some point this year – I don’t know when, but I can’t wait for it.”

Kalish actually faced live pitching as a designated hitter in a few extended spring training games in late May, and Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters that Ryan was likely to be playing for Pawtucket within a week.  But a different injury halted Kalish’s progress.

“It’s my neck right now,” Ryan said.  “My shoulder is really, really good but you can’t do much if you don’t have freedom with your head and neck.  It shuts everything else down, but it’s getting a lot better which is encouraging.  It’s one of the slowest-healing things that I’ve ever had to deal with.

“I got a couple of hits one day and after the game I felt really stiff.  I woke up the next day and it was the same.  When my neck was really acting up, the only thing I wanted to do was lay down.  I couldn’t even really drive.  It got to a point where it was forcing me to lay on the floor and just let it calm down.”

Kalish batted .252/.305/.405 in 53 games (44 starts) for Boston last year and was named the Red Sox Rookie of the Year.  This year, he had only played in 14 games for Pawtucket before the shoulder injury.

“It’s been frustrating because I just want to play baseball,” Ryan said.  “This is what I love to do and regardless of where I’m playing, I just want to be part of a team and be a part of some wins.  It’s tough to sit back and watch, but I’ll be playing again this year.  I’m just not sure when.”

Ryan accompanied the team on its 8-day road trip to Louisville and Indianapolis where he will continue to rehab under the direction of trainer Jon Jochim and strength and conditioning coach Mike Roose.

“I’ve been on a little bit of a roller coaster because there have been times that everything feels good and you start to get giddy,” Kalish said.  “But this is an injury that I have to take slowly.  I have no idea where it came from.  I am getting better.  I’ll be back as soon as I humanly can be.”

* * * * *

I am excited to see how Andrew Miller does on Monday night as he makes his first start for the Boston Red Sox.

The 26-year-old lefty has been tough to hit all year, holding opponents to a .181 batting average – the lowest of any International League starting pitcher.

But in his first 9 starts, Andrew’s low hit total was significantly offset by a high walk total.  Miller walked 32 batters in his first 40.1 innings (7.1 BB per 9) and typically reached his pitch limit before finishing the fifth inning.

But since altering his pre-game routine to pitch a simulated inning in the bullpen before taking the mound (more details here), Andrew has had pinpoint control, walking 3 batters in 25.1 innings (1.1 BB per 9) while striking out 26.

“It was all about getting him some innings and getting him comfortable,” PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler said.  “Since he tweaked his pre-game preparation, it’s really turned him around.  He started throwing a lot more strikes and commanded the baseball much better.  His tools are off the charts.  He’s got three plus-pitches at any time and a fastball in the mid-90’s from the left side.  He’s got that Randy Johnson look to him and he’s just nasty.  Guys don’t get good swings on his ball even when they’re ahead in the count.  It will be interesting to watch (on Monday) and hopefully he can go up there and continue to do what he’s been doing for us.”

* * * * *

The PawSox open a 4-game series at Louisville on Monday night at 7:05.  I hope you’ll join us for radio coverage beginning with the pre-game show at 6:50 on the PawSox radio network and pawsox.com.

I’d love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

If you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

And I have finally joined Facebook.  Just search for Dan Hoard and look for the photo of me with the handsome lad.

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