Kalish 'psyched' to be back up with Red Sox

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Kalish 'psyched' to be back up with Red Sox

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
about that.

"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."

Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

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Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

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Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.