CHICAGO -- Ryan Kalish last played in the big leagues at the end of the 2010 season, so when a call from Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler came at 12:30 early Sunday morning, telling him that he being called up by the parent club, Kalish didn't mind the late hour or the short notice.
"I'm psyched, man," said Kalish, sitting in the visitor's dugout at Wrigley Field three hours before gametime Sunday afternoon. "I'm psyched to be here and help this team win ballgames."
Kalish missed most of 2011 with a succession of neck and shoulder injuries that eventually required two surgeries at the end of the year, including one in November to repair a torn labrum.
He wasn't ready to do much in the way of baseball activities in spring training, but worked his way back and had rehab stints at Salem (Single A), Portland (Double A), and more recently, Triple A Pawtucket. In 15 games between the two assignments, he hit .345 with five homers and 11 RBI.
Kalish, who was in center and hitting eighth, probably thought he would need more time to refine his timing, but a nagging toe injury to Ryan Sweeney sped up the timetable.
"I didn't expect anything," he said. "I just expected to go through the process of getting myself back in game shape and seeing pitching, taking good swings, and putting together quality at-bats."
Having undergone two surgical procedures last fall, Kalish knew he faced a long recovery road.
"You always hear these standard guidelines," said Kalish. "You always figured after those months, it's over. It's not over. Basically, it's just getting started. There's a lot of maintenance work that goes into this that I'm going to have put in everyday. I'm fine with that. But it's a learning process, just like anything else."
In his time with the Sox in 2010, Kalish earned a reputation for having an aggressive, even reckless playing style, throwing his body around in the outfield and on the bases.
Now, he realizes he may have to tone it down some.
"Basically," he said, "I can pick and choose my spot. I think that's what I'm going to have to do now. I don't know when that's going to happen, but I think I'm going to get a feel for it. Obviously sliding head-first is probably not something I'm going to do. Feet-first is just as effective, so I'm not worried
"I haven't dived for a ball yet in the outfield. If the time comes, I'm going to give it a shot. I think I'm fine. I'm confident about how I'm feeling. I think everything's sturdier than I would think. But if the time calls, man, I think I have to lay out for my team."
Like Will Middlebrooks before him, Kalish can provide some energy to a team depleted by injuries and struggling in the standings.
"It's about the energy right now," he said. "I don't have expectations. I'm not looking to set a goal to how I want to field or how I want to hit. But I know I can bring an energy to a ballpark that's really good for a team and that's what I want to do. These guys are all about winning and that's what I'm about and that's what I want to do."