August 2011

Ryan Kalish Returns Tonight

He’s baaack!

Photos courtesy of Kelly O'Connor

On Thursday night for the first time in 105 days, Ryan Kalish will take the field in a game that counts as he begins a rehab stint with the Single-A Lowell Spinners.  The 23-year-old outfielder is scheduled to be Lowell’s designated hitter on Thursday before playing the outfield on Saturday.  If there are no setbacks, Kalish is likely to return to the PawSox lineup for the last few weeks of the season.

“We’re not going to put any time frame on it,” said Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen.  “We’ll see how those two games go and then we’ll make the determination based on what we see. 

“We’re very encouraged by this step.  Obviously we want to still remain cautiously optimistic given that he’s missed so much time with this injury, but getting back on the field is encouraging and hopefully he is able to take the next step.  It’s going to be like a first spring training game almost, so it’s going to take a few days to get ramped back up, but he should be back in Pawtucket soon if all goes well.”

“I don’t care what my numbers are at this point,” Kalish told Brendan McGair from The Pawtucket Times on Tuesday.  “I just want to play and feel right about it.  Out of this season, I may get 150 total at-bats, meaning it’s tough to judge where I’m at as far as my development.  Personally the numbers aren’t going to mean a thing. I just want to feel good and healthy and be able to go into the offseason knowing that I can come into next season feeling good rather than answering questions about my health.”

Shoulder and neck injuries have forced Kalish to miss Pawtucket’s last 96 games, but he’s responded to treatment over the last few weeks, and has been able to increase his baseball activities.

“The shoulder healed in about five weeks,” Kalish told McGair.  “Next thing you know I have a neck injury.  I’ve had stiff necks in the past and it’s taken 3-4 days, but I’ve probably been set back four or five times, just not feeling good enough to play.

“It’s been about 10 consecutive days that I’ve felt really good.  It’s been a long time since I felt good.”

“I talked to him yesterday and he was very excited about getting back out on the field,” Hazen said.  “It’s been a long year for him obviously and not something that any of us wanted to see.  Hopefully he gets back healthy and can help us here in the second half of the season.”

* * * * *

After enjoying their only off-day in the month of August, the PawSox continue their 8-game homestand as they open a 4-game series against Buffalo on Thursday 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’ve finally joined Facebook.  Just search for Dan Hoard and look for the photo of me with the handsome lad.

No Dog Days This Year

Here’s your stat of the day:  7-27.

That’s what the PawSox need to go in their last 34 games to top last year’s final record of 66-78.

But that’s obviously not the goal.  At the start of August, Pawtucket is in the thick of a great race.  The PawSox are 2 games behind Lehigh Valley for first place in the IL North, and a half-game behind Gwinnett for the lead in the Wild Card race.

This year the phrase “dog days of August” doesn’t apply.

“I know that guys enjoy winning – it’s fun to win,” said manager Arnie Beyeler.  “We still have a month to play and anything can still happen, but it’s nice to be this far along in the season and still have something to play for.”

It’s also nice for Arnie to make it past the July 31st trade deadline and still have his team.

Kyle Weiland’s name popped up in several trade rumors, and on Saturday, it looked like Lars Anderson was headed to Oakland for pitcher Rich Harden before the deal fell through.  The 23-year-old first baseman had an excellent month of July, batting .288/.362/.548 with 9 2B, 6 HR, and 23 RBI in 29 games, and Beyeler is confident that Anderson will not be thrown for a loop by the trade that wasn’t.

(Photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)

“You really don’t know whether he was going to Triple-A or the big leagues and we probably never will,” Beyeler said.  “He went through an emotional roller coaster, but it’s not the first time for these guys to have things like that happen and it probably won’t be the last.  They know how to handle things like that.  He’s probably glad to put it behind him and move on, rather than sit around all day and wonder what’s going on.”

In addition to not losing Lars, it appears increasingly likely that the PawSox will have his buddy Ryan Kalish back in the near future.  Kalish – who last played for Pawtucketon April 21st – took part in a vigorous on-field workout on Sunday morning under the watchful eye of trainer Jon Jochim.

“He’s doing well,” Beyeler said.  “He’s going to hit on the field with us on Monday and we’ll go from there.  He’s progressing a little bit every day and he’s getting out on the field now and starting to do some things, so it looks pretty positive right now.”

While they wait for Kalish to return, the PawSox lineup will be boosted by the addition of INF Jed Lowrie on a rehab assignment.  Lowrie, who has been on Boston’s disabled list since June 17th with a left shoulder strain, is expected to bePawtucket’s starting shortstop on Monday night vs. Louisville.

Fans that make it to McCoy Stadium have a great pitching matchup to look forward to as Kyle Weiland (8-7, 3.15) battles former National League All-Star Edinson Volquez (2-0, 2.18) 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’ve finally joined Facebook.  Just search for Dan Hoard and look for the photo of me with the handsome lad.

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