BOSTON Ryan Kalish is still working on his New Years resolutions. But one he might want to consider for 2012 is to stay healthy.
That would be a good one. I might have to add that one in, Kalish said.
With or without resolutions, Kalish is happy to be putting 2011 in his rearview mirror.
Absolutely, he said. I will be ringing in the new year Saturday night a happy man. Obviously, I got a lot of work to do in 2012, but yeah.
Most of Kalishs work early in the new year will involve rehabbing.
Kalish, who turns 24 in March, was a ninth-round pick of the Red Sox in 2006 out of Red Bank Catholic High in New Jersey. He made his big-league debut in 2010, going 2-for-4 with a hit in his first at-bat in his first game on July 31. He appeared in 53 games for the Sox that season, playing all three outfield positions, batting .252 with 4 home runs, 24 RBI, a .305 OBP, and .405 slugging percentage.
But 2011 was virtually a lost year for him. Injuries to his left shoulder and neck limited him to just 22 games for Triple-A Pawtucket with two rehab games for Low-A Lowell. He had surgery on his neck in September and on the labrum in his left shoulder in November.
Yeah, Ive definitely had a lot more fun in my life, he said. I say that, but at the same time, sometimes missing the game kind of helps you propel. Im just excited to get back and I just feel like Im going to be more ready to play now more than ever. But if I had to go back, I obviously would have changed getting hurt, for sure.
The injury happened in April and then I think I tried to play again in August. So youre talking 3 12 months. And then just feeling that pain throughout the game, and just trying to play through it, its not the most comforting thing, especially when you start not hitting well and things arent going your way. You feel like youre fighting an impossible battle against your body and your health.
He wasnt surprised by the second surgery. Its an issue thats been troubling him since high school. But he had hoped to put it off.
This offseason while I was rehabbing my neck, my shoulder just never really quite felt good, Kalish said. And I was like, you know what, its probably just time to fix that. So I dont know if I was surprised because I felt like it was going to happen eventually.
Kalish has discarded the sling that was supporting his left arm, but he is still a ways away from baseball activities.
I dont know they exact timeline. I just know were talking months not weeks, he said. Its definitely not the best timing ever, with the season coming and trying to help the team win and develop myself. But I just felt like going forward it would be best to get healthy now than to extend me trying to play. And if it didnt work, come next season then were looking at all of next season Id be gone. So we just all decided as a group effort it would be best to do this.
Kalish sees the trade Wednesday that brought outfielder Ryan Sweeney to Boston, along with closer Andrew Bailey, in exchange for outfielder Josh Reddick and minor leaguers Miles Head and Raul Alcantara as having little effect on his status for now.
I know where I stand, he said. If Im not healthy, theres nothing I can do, anyway. Obviously, thats the main concern. When I get back I just need to play. From there all the decisions arent up to me. Im not guaranteed anything. I just have to earn my spot like everybody else. And thats where Im at, and Ill be ready to do that eventually.
We have Jacoby Ellsbury in center and Carl Crawford in left. We just got Sweeney. So Im going to assume that, Im not going to be ready to play in spring training anyway. So from my standpoint Im just going to have to sit back and watch. But how I look at it right now, I think theres Darnell McDonald. Hes a very good player. Im just going to be getting healthy and hanging out with all the guys. Itll be cool to see how everything works out. From my standpoint, as soon as Im healthy and ready to play Im just going to go do that, wherever that is. Im assuming Pawtucket, and Ill just continue to try and grow as a player and if the time comes where they think I can help them in the big league, thats what Im going to do.
For Kalish it was tough bittersweet -- to see Reddick traded away. Reddick was also drafted in 2006 and the two had come up through the Sox system together. But Kalish is happy for his friend to get a shot at a full-time job in the big leagues. Kalish has been following the Sox moves this offseason, and is happy with the teams direction.
I think theyre doing very good things for us, he said. Obviously, Im not a GM. I dont know how things pan out, but I like all their moves. Theyre our management. We trust them and theyre doing the right things for us.
Kalish has been home in New Jersey for the holidays, but is headed back to Fort Myers, Fla., to resume his rehab on Monday. Hes not sure what he will be able to do by spring training. For now, hes not setting any milestones or goals for himself. Just doing what the doctors and trainers tell him. Hes hoping hell be at some stage of hitting by spring training, with throwing coming after that. Hes not sure if playing in games in a possibility, but hopes he might get to DH. But, hell abide by the directions of the medical staff.
Despite the setbacks of 2011, Kalish has maintained a good outlook.
Yeah, it hasnt been the easiest year, he said. Im sure if we talked a few months ago, I might not have said the same stuff. But when things get real bad you have to think positive because thats all you can do. Im still 23. Im young. I have time to get healthy and do what I need to do to get back. Thats all the things that I come up with in my head. But it gets frustrating at points where you see all these things happening and you know you cant do anything about it. It can be frustrating. But at the same time, as young as I am I know this game, and Ive heard from many people, how fast it will go by. So, theres no time to waste with a crappy attitude.