Kalish shakes off nerves in return to Fenway outfield

Kalish shakes off nerves in return to Fenway outfield
June 20, 2012, 4:48 am
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BOSTON Ryan Kalish acknowledged after Tuesdays 7-5 win over the Marlins at Fenway Park he felt some nerves during the game. Understandable, considering Kalish was making his first appearance at Fenway since Oct. 3, 2010. He appeared in just 24 minor league games last season, sidelined by injuries. And after off-season surgeries on his neck and shoulder he was delayed this season.

The nerves, while there, werent apparent immediately.Kalish, playing center field, got the first play of the game, fielding a Jose Reyes fly ball with a sliding catch for the first out.

I had a good read and I came in I was kind of thinking about that I would have had to dive head first, which would have been me first time, Kalish said. But it just was one of those sliding catches that a lot of good outfielders can make.

But the nerves became more apparent as the game went on. It wasnt the easiest reintroduction to Fenway for Kalish.

He was 3-for-4 in catches, manager Bobby Valentine said. Thats not bad. He got better as the game went on. Actually the first-inning catch was terrific, the first hitter of the game, and then I think there was another step to be taken on the one high fly ball and he said the ball that went in and out of his glove thatll never happen again. But the next two plays were terrific going to his right and his left.

In the fifth inning, he misplayed Logan Morrisons fly ball to the base of the wall in center for a two-run double. Later he dropped Jose Reyes fly for a three-base error to open the eighth. At the plate, he struck out with a runner on third.

Just missed it, Kalish said. Obviously I can smile about it now but at the time I wasnt. I just dropped it. Theres no excuse for that and it wont happen again.

It would have been understandable if Kalish had been leery of the wall on Morrisons fly, given his time away and his injuries. But Kalish said that wasn't the case.

It wasnt really in my head, especially with that play. It was just one of those things that you just drop a ball. I really cant remember ever dropping a ball like that in my life and its just really funny that it happened in the big leagues.

We talked about it. With two outs I probably should have tried to go to the wall first. With two outs I could have played it different. But I havent been in this park in a while. Im going to make an adjustment.

Kalish got words of encouragement from Cody Ross and Kevin Youkilis, which helped to dampen the sting of the miscues.

Ross said that he had done it himself, Kalish said. Hes done it before in his career and even Youk sat me down after that inning and that was huge, too. I was like thats the most embarrassing thing Ive ever done. He was like if thats the most embarrassing thing you do in the big leagues, then youre going to be alright. So for now, Ill keep it there.

But there were bright spots, too.

After making the error in the seventh, he also got the final out of the inning, stranding Reyes on third. He got the final out of the eighth, too.

It was fun, man, regardless of what I did out there, he said. I didnt really play my best game. I had a lot of fun. We got a win, too, so thats huge.

I think if I didnt have nerves theres something wrong. So Im just going to keep getting my confidence back and continue to work hard.