The key word is “soon.”
(Photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
After missing 91 games – and counting – with shoulder and neck injuries, Ryan Kalish says that he expects to be back in action in the near future.
“It’s been a long, long year with all of the injuries, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Kalish told me on Thursday. “I feel like I will play soon and I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work to make this happen. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get on the field very soon.”
“I don’t know the timeline,” Kalish said. “It’s day-to-day depending on how I feel. I’m swinging and throwing and everything is coming along. The sooner the better.”
The 23-year-old outfielder suffered a partially torn labrum and a SLAP tear in his left shoulder while making a diving catch on April 21st. The shoulder was sufficiently healed in late May to allow Ryan to be the designated hitter in a couple of extended spring training games, but neck pain halted his progress.
“I would say that the shoulder is 100%,” Kalish said. “The neck is more of the thing right now. That’s what has kept me out for the last six weeks or so, but I feel really good. It’s been a really long time since I’ve felt good so it’s a very gratifying feeling right now. When I first had neck pain, I figured it would be three days because I’ve had a stiff neck before. But it obviously was more than a stiff neck.”
If Kalish continues to progress, he’s likely to have a brief rehab stint with Single-A Lowell before returning to Pawtucket. Since there are only five weeks left in the minor league regular season, Ryan also hopes to play winter ball to make up for lost at-bats.
“As long as I’m healthy, I just want to play,” Kalish said. “I haven’t played much this year, so I think it’s in my best interest to play somewhere and I look forward to it. Wherever it is, it’s fine with me.”
Kalish was Boston’s Rookie of the Year last season, and was widely considered to be the heir apparent to J.D. Drew as the Red Sox right fielder in 2012. But while Ryan has been on the disabled list, Josh Reddick has seized the opportunity to make his case for winning the job by batting .358/.400/.613 with 9 doubles, 3 triples, and 4 home runs in 35 games with Boston.
“That is the way of the world right now, and Josh is one of my good friends and I’ve never been happier for anyone,” Kalish said. “It’s incredible to see what he’s doing and I’m just so happy for him. I don’t know what’s going to happen next year and I can’t even think about it. I just want to play baseball and whatever happens – that’s just the way it works. I’ll just be excited to be playing somewhere.”
Let’s hope it’s soon.
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The PawSox snapped their 3-game losing streak with a 2-1 win at Lehigh Valley on Thursday, meaning they trail the first place IronPigs by 3 games with 38 to go. The PawSox currently lead the I.L. wild card race.
Pawtucket concludes an 8-game road trip on Friday 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.
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