Kalish slowly working his way back

625262.jpg

Kalish slowly working his way back

FORT MYERS, Fla. After the major league players who didnt go on Sundays trip to Dunedin to face the Blue Jays finished taking batting practice on the Jet Blue Park field, Ryan Kalish stepped in. Triple-A Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler fed the pitching machine while hitting coach Gerald Perry looked on.

But Kalish wasnt taking swings like the other hitters had done before him. He was working on bunting. Its one of the things he can do for now, while he recovers from off-season surgeries on his neck, in September, and left, throwing, shoulder, in November.

Hed like to swing away, though, for what it would signify.

Oh, of course, sure, Kalish said. But this is just something I can do right now and occupy my mind and get better at something in my game.

Kalish has been swinging, but it has been at a ball on a tee.

Weve only swung about four times, so far, he said. But were getting there. Its just a slow process but its necessary to be that way. Patience is the best thing right now.

Actually Im not really holding back when swinging. Just free. Swinging is starting to feel better. My swing is definitely coming along a little bit. Obviously, its been seven months. At this point its just getting the feel, seeing how it feels and thats it. So were getting there.

Kalish, who turns 24 on Wednesday, made his big league debut but was limited to just 24 minor league games last season, without a big league appearance, limited by injuries. It was hoped he would be in the Sox outfield mix this season, but is not expected to be ready before June.

Kalish, though, is not focusing on dates or deadlines.

Its not up to me, and I dont really ask, he said. I just do what they say day by day because thats just the way I feel, like its better to look at one day at a time rather than knowing what you have going one ahead. Im sure if I wanted to know I could. But id rather go day by day and take it step by step rather than what Ive been doing, looking ahead. it doesnt work too well.

Kalish is satisfied with the progress of his rehab. But hes also looking forward to its end.

Things are getting better for sure. Thats a definite. So Im happy, he said.

I just want to play. its been too long. its been so long. Thats where Im at mentally. I just want to play.

Every once in a while he notices a twinge in his neck and shoulder. Thats to be expected. But compared to last season, its much better.

Its great, he said. Every days a new day and sometimes I feel it. But thats just to be expected at this point. Sometimes you have a little kink here or a little kink there. But its just part of the daily routine. its a grind, but were getting there.

I run around, catch, throw. Im throwing on a program. Im doing everything. Its just a matter of time before we build up.

His throwing program is slow, he said. Hes throwing from about 60 feet now.

Its good, though, he said. And every day I throw it feels a little bit better, a little bit stronger. So, starting to get my arm back which is nice to know that I think eventually Ill have my full strength back.

Kalish, who had a very strong outfield arm before the injury, is confident that will return when hes back to full health. But, if it doesnt . . .

Ill deal with it, he said. Its just part of life. Thats it. So if it happens, it happens. But I think over time -- I dont know what my arm will be like this year. Ive heard from people that have had this its not always that year. Youll probably have the year after when you feel really good. So well see. Just take it step by step. I just want to play.

One of the people hes talked to about his situation is Jason Varitek.

He told me that last season, just as far as things go, and maybe people that hes known, Kalish said. We were together and we were talking about. And he goes, Hey, you might feel like this. But he was just giving me some friendly words of advice.

Sox minor leaguer Ryan Westmoreland has had it. Hes told me, My arm hurt for a year. But obviously I think his surgery was a little bit more complex than mine. So Im just going to keep working through it and if it hurts, it hurts.

Its just working out scar tissue. But its one of those things. Like I threw earlier today and felt it during it a little. But its just scar tissue and now I cant tell at all that I even threw. So its fine.

Kalish has been here since the beginning of the year. He hasnt received his release from Fort Myers yet. When camp breaks in a little over a week, hell stay behind, continuing his rehab process. He knows its just a matter of time before he heads north.

Thatll come, he said. l hope itll be sooner rather than later.

Thomas strains right groin, says he'll 'be fine for Wednesday'

Thomas strains right groin, says he'll 'be fine for Wednesday'

The bumps and bruises continue to pile up for Isaiah Thomas, adding a new one to the group during Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston. 
 
The 5-foot-9 guard said he strained his right groin in the second quarter, but added that the injury won’t force him to miss any games. 
 
“I’ll be alright,” Thomas told reporters after the loss. “I’ll get treatment. I’ll be fine for Wednesday (against Orlando).”
 
The injury appeared to have happened shortly after Houston’s Trevor Ariza hit a 3-pointer that put the Rockets ahead 55-45.
 
At the time it didn’t seem all that serious as Thomas, who had 20 points on the night, came down and drained a 3-pointer. 
 
But after the game, Thomas acknowledged his groin did bother him during the game in which he played 33-plus minutes. 
 
“A few drives I didn’t have the lift,” said Thomas, who finished with 20 points. “It is what it is. I’ll figure it out.”
 
Thomas, who played in all 82 regular season games last season in addition to each of Boston’s 21 games this season, has dealt with an assortment of injuries including but not limited to, a swollen middle finger injury on his left (shooting) hand. 
 
Thomas, an All-Star last season for the first time, has played at an elite level that should once again position him to be represent the Eastern Conference. 
 
Following Monday’s game, Thomas is averaging a career-high 26.0 points per game which ranks ninth in the NBA along with 6.1 assists. 

Smart: 'Can’t blame the officials for the outcome of the game'

Smart: 'Can’t blame the officials for the outcome of the game'

The fact that the James Harden of the Houston Rockets went to the free throw line 18 times which was more than the entire Celtics roster (12 free throw attempts total) certainly fired up conspiracy theorists among Celtics Nation. 
 
But what seemed to draw the most ire was what appeared to be a 3-pointer by Avery Bradley late in the fourth quarter that was initially called a long two-pointer. 
 
And after it was reviewed by the good folks in Secaucus, N.J., they allowed the ruling to stand because there wasn’t enough proof in the many replay angles for them to overturn the original call. 
 
The missed lay-ups by Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas in the closing seconds stand out, obviously. 
 
But the 3-pointer that wasn’t a 3-pointer was one of the more talked-about topics in the Celtics locker room afterwards. 
 
“From the angle we saw, it was a three,” Boston’s Marcus Smart told reporters after the game. “We definitely thought it was.”
 
Said Jae Crowder: “I thought it was a three. Nothing we can do about it now.”
 
It was that kind of game for the Celtics, one in which plays that could go either way more often than not, went against them. 
 
And while Bradley’s questionable two-pointer certainly was a factor in the game’s outcome, as was the free throw discrepancy and the late-game misses, ultimately the blame for Monday’s loss falls upon the Celtics players who were still in position to win despite all those setbacks.

They simply didn't get it done, when it mattered.
 
Smart, who had 13 points off the Celtics bench, understands that fans like to blame the officials when a game ends like Monday’s loss to Houston. 
 
“Officials, they did their job,” Smart said. “You can’t blame the officials for the outcome of the game. We made some costly plays down the stretch. Give credit to the Rockets. They made plays and executed down the stretch.”