Kalish hopes to finally be on the road to full health

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Kalish hopes to finally be on the road to full health

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Ryan Kalish thought the worst was behind him.

It turns out he was wrong.

Kalish's last two seasons were marred by neck and shoulder surgeries. After two procedures and plenty of rehab, he thought he on the road to full health.

But over the winter, Kalish began experiencing some pain in his right shoulder -- he had undergone an operation in his left (throwing) surgery after the 2011 season. After trying to overcome the discomfort, he recently gave in to the inevitable and underwent a procedure by noted orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum at the end of January.

The surgery repaired a torn labrum and will keep the outfielder sideline from anywhere from four to six months, effectively wiping out most -- if not all -- of 2013.

"Obviously, I've been really down," said Kalish. "I kind of disappeared and I didn't talk (to reporters) and I apologize. But it's been really tough for me. I really just want to play again. At this point, I'm just tired of being hurt.

"I'm happy that I got it fixed because it just wasn't working. It was just too much pain and too hard to play with. It wouldn't have been good for me or the team, so it was definitely time to do it."

Were he healthy, Kalish was going to be given the chance to be part of a platoon in left field with Jonny Gomes, with the Sox looking for a lefthanded bat to pair with Gomes.

Instead, for the second spring in row, however, Kalish is little more than a bystander in spring training, limited to cardio work and some drills that don't involve using his right shoulder, which sits in a sling.

The issue with the right shoulder dates back to last season, when he experienced soreness as soon as was cleared to swing a bat. He appeared in 36 games with the Sox, but clearly wasn't himself, amassing just three extra-base hits in 96 at-bats. He hit just .229 with an OPS of .532.

"I had a feeling (it was an issue),'' he said. "Obviously, with all I've been through, the last thing I wanted to do was another surgery. We decided to keep pushing through and keep trying. Eventually, after a couple of shutdowns and more strengthening and no swinging, then as soon as you pick up the swinging, it hurts again.

"Eventually, I just got tired of it and I had to make the call. I said 'Listen, I just can't do this anymore. The pain is one thing; but the other is my head. It's been a crazy ride since 2010 and I just need to get healthy."

Doctors have told him that this injury may have been the result of trying to compensate for his surgically-repaired left shoulder last season, but Kalish suspects the right shoulder was damaged previously.

"When you come back from a surgery during the season," said Kalish, "you're going to feel that injury. I don't know if I was able to get through the zone as much with my left shoulder, which (forced me to) use my right. Obviously, we'll never really know the truth. But it hurt too much to do anything good for anybody."

With months of rehab ahead, Kalish's lone consolation is that there's little more that can go wrong with his upper torso.

"Once you have the two shoulders the neck,'' he said, "I think it's time to be right. I hope."

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.