Kalish eager to develop down at Pawtucket

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Kalish eager to develop down at Pawtucket

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

PAWTUCKET, RI After appearing in 53 big-league games last season, hitting .252 with four home runs, including two grand slams, and 24 RBI, perhaps starting this season in Triple-A would be a disappointment.

Not so, says Ryan Kalish.

No, not at all, said Kalish, who turned 23 on March 28. I knew in the offseason as soon as they signed Carl Crawford that was the way it was going to be. And I think its good because theres no pressure. You know youre going to go to Triple-A and keep working on my game. I think, obviously, if I was the Red Sox, Id have signed Carl, too, because hes just such a good player and brings a lot to your team. So, no, there was no disappointment at all. Just come in here, get my work in and if they need me up there, thats my goal, is to be ready to help them win.

Kalish appeared in 20 Grapefruit League games for the Red Sox this spring, playing all three outfield positions and serving as the designated hitter. Hitting .235 with just two extra-base hits, both doubles, and one RBI, he wasnt entirely happy with his spring performance. But, he also knows that will not determine his future.

Spring training was great, he said. Just a lot of excitement. Crawford coming in and all the outfielders, just such a help and always teaching me stuff and helping me learn. That was great. I dont think I played as well as I wanted to, but thats spring training. But now the games are here and were here to win and I think that really helps everybody out. So, yeah, spring training was great.

Getting called to the big leagues on July 31, Kalish quickly showed that he was not intimidated by his surroundings, starting in left field and going 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI in his debut that day. Those last few months in the big leagues can only help him.

It was definitely huge because when I get back, hopefully if I get back, it shouldnt be as big of an adjustment, he said. Youre going to already know a lot of the guys. They already are there to help me out, and Ill just continue to grow.

First-year Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler has watched Kalishs maturation. He also managed Kalish in Portland over parts of the last two seasons.

Hes a hard-working kid, Beyeler said. He plays the game right. Hes come a long way, maturity-wise. He used to let the game come to him, but now he gets after it every day. Hes consistent. Doesnt let things bother him like they used to. I think that shows in his consistency, especially when he went up to the big leagues and got the opportunity last year. Everybody in the clubhouse loved him up there last year because hes consistent every day. All he cares about is winning. He just wants to help the team and hes been that way throughout the minor leagues the last few years.

Beyeler has seen the difference those 53 big-league games have had on Kalish.

I think not in just his game. His games his game, Beyeler said. I think more so just his emotional consistency of not letting stuff bother him, the little things that could tend to wear a lot of guys out when theyre young. It seems like when those guys go up to the big leagues and come back they understand that its not all about the numbers. You can kind of see the forest through the trees a little bit more. Theyre going to come and get guys down here that fit into roles they need, are good in the clubhouse, and care about the team wining. Its not necessarily the hottest guy at the time. So when guys kind of start to see that a little bit and worry about themselves instead of worrying about the numbers, its funny how things kind of work out for them a lot better. But it takes a long time.

But I think all of us are that way. In the grand scheme of things you just got to do what you do and things work out. Its tough with these guys on the way up to sometimes talk to them about things like that, the process over the performance. When they start seeing and really believing in the process and how things work and quit worrying about the performance, then the process usually takes care of the performance.

For Kalish, while getting back to the big leagues will always be the ultimate goal, for now its in the background.

Thats off the table, he said. Just play, play hard down here, and continue to develop. And I think keeping that winning attitude down here will help us all when we get up there. But theres no goal on that, because if you do I think it kind of throws your game off if you dont get somewhere, if you dont hit a certain average, get a certain number of home runs. At the end of the year if you play hard and work hard and play to win, I think a lot of that stuff will take care of itself.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

BOSTON —  The Red Sox have become well known for their ceremonies, for their pull-out-all-the-stops approach to pomp. The retirement of David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday evening was in one way, then, typical.

A red banner covered up Ortiz’s No. 34 in right field, on the facade of the grandstand, until it was dropped down as Ortiz, his family, Red Sox ownership and others who have been immortalized in Fenway lore looked on. Carl Yazstremski and Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez. 

The half-hour long tribute further guaranteed permanence to a baseball icon whose permanence in the city and the sport was never in doubt. But the moments that made Friday actually feel special, rather than expected, were stripped down and quick. 

Dustin Pedroia’s not one to belabor many points, never been the most effusive guy around. (He’d probably do well on a newspaper deadline.) The second baseman spoke right before Ortiz took to the podium behind the mound.

“We want to thank you for not the clutch hits, the 500 home runs, we want to thank you for how you made us feel and it’s love,” Pedroia said, with No. 34 painted into both on-deck circles and cut into the grass in center field. “And you’re not our teammate, you’re not our friend, you’re our family. … Thank you, we love you.”

Those words were enough for Ortiz to have tears in his eyes.

“Little guy made me cry,” Ortiz said, wiping his hands across his face. “I feel so grateful. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to have the career that I have. But I thank God even more for giving me the family and what I came from, who teach me how to try to do everything the right way. Nothing — not money — nothing is better than socializing with the people that are around you, get familiar with, show them love, every single day. It’s honor to get to see my number …. I remember hitting batting practice on this field, I always was trying to hit those numbers.”

Now that’s a poignant image for a left-handed slugger at Fenway Park.

He did it once, he said — hit the numbers. He wasn’t sure when. Somewhere in 2011-13, he estimated — but he said he hit Bobby Doerr’s No. 1.

“It was a good day to hit during batting practice,” Ortiz remembered afterward in a press conference. “But to be honest with you, I never thought I’d have a chance to hit the ball out there. It’s pretty far. My comment based on those numbers was, like, I started just getting behind the history of this organization. Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in them. It takes special people to do special things and at the end of the day have their number retired up there, so that happening to me today, it’s a super honor to be up there, hanging with those guys.”

The day was all about his number, ultimately, and his number took inspiration from the late Kirby Puckett. Ortiz’s major league career began with the Twins in 1997. Puckett passed away in 2006, but the Red Sox brought his children to Fenway Park. They did not speak at the podium or throw a ceremonial first pitch, but their presence likely meant more than, say, Jason Varitek’s or Tim Wakefield’s.

“Oh man, that was very emotional,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to lie to you, like, when I saw them coming toward me, I thought about Kirby. A lot. That was my man, you know. It was super nice to see his kids. Because I remember, when they were little guys, little kids. Once I got to join the Minnesota Twins, Kirby was already working in the front office. So they were, they used to come in and out. I used to get to see them. But their dad was a very special person for me and that’s why you saw me carry the No. 34 when I got here. It was very special to get to see them, to get kind of connected with Kirby somehow someway.”

Ortiz’s place in the row of 11 retired numbers comes in between Boggs’ No. 26 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.

Red Sox claim RHP Doug Fister off waivers, sign INF Jhonny Peralta

Red Sox claim RHP Doug Fister off waivers, sign INF Jhonny Peralta

 

BOSTON — They have the right idea, if not yet the right personnel.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has brought on a pair of former Tigers in an effort to help the Red Sox’ depth.

It’s hard to expect much from righty Doug Fister — who mostly throws in the 80s these days and is to start Sunday — or from Jhonny Peralta, who’s going to play some third base at Triple-A Pawtucket. Fister was claimed off waivers from the Angels, who coincidentally started a three-game series with the Red Sox on Friday at Fenway Park. Peralta, meanwhile, was signed as a free agent to a minor league deal.

Neither may prove much help. Fister could move to the bullpen when Eduardo Rodriguez is ready to return, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. The Sox hope E-Rod is back in time for the All-Star break.

That’s assuming Fister is pitching well enough that the Sox want to keep him.

But at least the Sox are being proactive looking for help, and it’s not like either Peralta or Fister is high-risk.

Fister, 33, threw 180 1/3 innings last year with the Astros, posting a 4.64 ERA. He hasn’t been in the big leagues yet this season.

Said one American League talent evaluator earlier this year about Fister’s 2016: “Had a nice first half. Then struggled vs. left-handed hitters and with finishing hitters. No real putaway pitch. Has ability to pitch around the zone, reliable dude.”