CHICAGO -- It was a long day for Ryan Kalish on Sunday. Long, but rewarding.
It began with a 12:30 a.m. phone call telling him that he was being called up to the Red Sox to replace the injured Ryan Sweeney. It continued with a morning flight and a trip directly from the airport to Wrigley Field, where he learned he'd be in the lineup and in a major league game for the first time since the end of the 2010 season.
And it continued with a crucial run-scoring single in the seventh to put the Red Sox ahead for good, before ending with a daring run scored from third on a suicide squeeze by Daniel Nava.
Facing lefty James Russell with two on and no out in a 3-3 game, Kalish first expected manager Bobby Valentine to pinch-hit for him.
"I saw a lot of action (near the dugout)," said Kalish, "but I forgot it was the National League and he was getting ready to pinch-hit for the pitcher (who was due up next). I'm glad he stuck with me."
Then, it was time to deliver.
"Got a chance in a big situation," said Kalish. "I kind of got over-anxious at first. I just stepped out (of the box) and told myself that this is baseball and I've been here before. It's a new field and it's bigger circumstances. (But) the luck of baseball helped me out."
Kalish confessed that he had some return-to-the-majors butterflies.
"I had them," he said. "I always have them, everyday. Obviously, today, it was a little bigger. But they'll calm down and I can get into playing baseball."
Never say never?
While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.
CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season.
For the full interview with Martinez, click here.
Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired.
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.
The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.
But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.
“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.
“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”
He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.
He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.
But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.
“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”