BOSTON Ryan Kalish could be forgiven for being bitter. After making his big league debut in 2010, he appeared in just 24 games last season, all in the minors, because of injury. The hope had been for him to get healthy enough to compete for a major league job in spring training, but that was derailed by two surgeries last fall in September to repair a bulging disc in his neck and another in November on the labrum of his left (throwing) shoulder and he was sidelined until June.In 27 games with Pawtucket, he hit .261 with four home runs, 14 RBI, a .336 on-base percentage and .414 slugging percentage. But in August, he hit just .166, going 6-for-36. In July, he missed a week after crashing into the wall at McCoy Stadium to make a catch.Still, Kalish earned three call-ups this season, batting .229 in 36 games, appearing in all three outfield positions. Since his most recent call-up Aug. 27, he is batting .353, going 6-for-17. But Kalish has been virtually shut down since earlier this month. He got into Wednesdays loss to the Rays as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning. That was his first appearance since Sept. 16. He has not started a game since Sept. 11 against the Yankees, when he went 1-for-4.Recovering from the injuries and the length of this season have taken their toll. His neck and shoulder have had enough for this season, so Kalishs perspective on this season might be surprising.Its been a good year. Its been cool to play again, no doubt about that, said Kalish, sitting in the Red Sox dugout earlier this week. I definitely wish I could have felt better but its OK. I was not expecting any of it but I heard that it was possible. And it did. And its alright. Im going to be ready to go next year. Its just the process. Ive learned a ton these last two years. Im not invincible. This game is not easy. And you need to be playing at, obviously not 100 percent, but you need to be strong and ready. And thats where Im going to be eventually.Im talking about just an overall perspective of health. Just on the mental side of it. Ive learned how much you should appreciate just being on the field, even more so than I did before. Im happy right now. I know that its not that cool that Ive been shut down and all that. But overall, I have a pretty sweet life. Im going to be better on the field, I think, because of all this and all the experiences and what Ive gained. I think when I get right and get back out there Ill be even better, fit to do what I need to do.The perspective Kalish, 24, the Sox ninth-round pick in 2006 out of Red Bank (NJ) Catholic High, demonstrates is a maturity gained, perhaps, by only going through a certain amount of adversity.Im still immature in a ton of ways, he said with a laugh. But, yeah, I think Ive matured a ton. I dont think theres any choice in it. Im sitting here telling you that overall Im pretty good at a time when I think a lot of people might think I wouldnt be. But life could be a lot worse than this.Kalish has been going through this adversity since April 21, 2011, when he injured his shoulder making a diving catch in center field against Syracuse. He suffered a partial tear of the labrum, and a subsequent neck injury, limiting him to just 22 games with Pawtucket last season.A lot of people know about a year-and-a-half ago I probably wasnt this happy or accepting of everything thats happened, he said. So Im here now and Im accepting it. This is all you can do and be positive and have fun with life.Frustration would be a normal reaction in his situation, but its in the past, Kalish said.Ive let go of it, he said. I have been frustrated but Ive let it go. Its over now. The only thing to do is to get healthy, to get really strong and healthy and ready to play a season next year. Thats the bottom line. So no frustration any more. Its over with.A lot of work with that guy, Kalish said, pointing to Bob Tewskbury, the Sox sports psychology coach. A lot of people, people that Ive met, people that have gone through the same stuff, theres tons of guys that have been injured like me. Scott Podsednik and I have spent time talking. I think he told me hes had eight surgeries. So at this point Im only at three. I dont want anymore, but people have gone through it. Im not the first. Im just the one right now. People that have been through it have been here to help me and talk me through it and say, Just the bottom line is you need to get healthy.Even though he is shut down, except for possibly some pinch-running opportunities, staying with the major league is helpful.Yeah, I like to watch the ball games, he said. I like to learn what I can see, be with teammates and players and be a good teammate for them because I know Dustin Pedroia was hurt when I was here in 2010 and he was nothing but a help to me. Obviously hes got a lot more experience and probably doesnt need my help, but Ill be there for them when they get hits or when theyre struggling and need a little love from a teammate. So its just cool. Im very ready to get right too. So Im just enjoying the process.Kalishs season, like that of all his teammates, will be over shortly. After that, the New Jersey native will head to San Francisco, where he plans to work out at Sparta, the facility where his friend and former teammate Lars Anderson has worked out.Ive got a couple of therapists that have been highly recommended through our team, Kalish said. Its been highly recommended. But Im excited for a new beginning. Basically, Im going to hit the reset button.Thats about all anyone can do after this season.
The Celtics are licking their wounds after Sunday's loss to the Clippers, but have to be ready for a big game tonight in Charlotte.