Kalish hitting stride
He’s healthy again and looking ahead
The time he spent rehabbing with the Single A short-season Lowell Spinners last weekend seemed to do Ryan Kalish some good. He saw the ball better. He got his timing down. And he felt a certain rhythm at the plate.
All were positive signs for the Pawtucket center fielder, who has recovered from a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Kalish’s painstaking recovery from that injury, suffered while diving for a ball April 21, was complicated by a nerve issue in his neck.
“It’s been so long since I’ve been out there,’’ said Kalish, who in two games with Lowell went 3 for 6 with 2 RBIs before he was activated Monday and joined the PawSox in Charlotte, where he went 2 for 4 with a double.
“I’m also really glad that I feel healthy,’’ Kalish said after Saturday’s game at LeLacheur Park. “It’s been a long time for that one, too.’’
Asked when he first started to feel healthy again, Kalish replied, “Really, it was about two weeks ago. That’s when stuff really started to feel better, and when you feel better, you can start to do more.’’
The problem was, as Kalish’s shoulder improved, his neck began to bother him to the point that he had to stop working in the batting cage.
“There were definitely a couple of days where I was frustrated and there were a couple of days where my neck set me back, too,’’ Kalish said. “It would get better, then back. It’d get better, then back.
“So every time that happened, you took a a day or two to just be upset, because I want to be out on the field as bad as anybody.
“At the same time, sitting around and feeling bad really wasn’t going to do anything for you. You check yourself and you wake up a day after the setback and you move forward.’’
And that’s precisely what Kalish has done, never fretting about what might have happened had he not gotten hurt. Perhaps he would have gotten the call that Josh Reddick got from the Red Sox when they needed to bolster their outfield. Reddick seized the opportunity and has run with it, establishing himself as a viable everyday right fielder.
“He could’ve gotten hurt and I could’ve been healthy and I could’ve continued to do what I did last year,’’ Kalish said. “You never know. It’s all part of the game.
“I’m just thrilled for him, because he’s known and everybody’s known he’s a big leaguer and he’s proving it right now.
“He’s just incredible to watch. For me, I get to learn from him. I get to watch him hit and we still stay in touch and he’s definitely doing his thing and it’s really, really good to see.’’
Kalish knew he could miss some time after opting for rehab instead of season-ending surgery.
“Your body needs the time and you maybe need to listen to it, too,’’ Kalish said. “There’s a difference between playing hurt and playing injured. You can feel some stuff, but also need to know when it’s time to shut it down.
“It’s really tough for any baseball player, because you want to be out there and you want to help your team win, but that can come back to bite you. It’s just part of the game learning all that. All of this is a huge learning thing for me.’’
Doubront impresses Lefthander Felix Doubront, on the disabled list since July 21 with a right hamstring strain, was reinstated to Pawtucket’s roster yesterday and drew the start for the PawSox last night at Charlotte. Doubront made a rehab start at Lowell last Saturday night, where he threw two perfect innings, striking out four.
“He was impressive,’’ said Lowell manager Carlos Febles. “Normally you expect a guy to be a little rusty, but that was not the case for him. He had a good fastball and located well and he was dialed in. Real efficient, too.’’
Doubront was limited to 40 pitches and two innings in his rehab assignment.
He was impressive last night for the PawSox as well, throwing 2 2/3 scoreless innings. He threw 42 pitches, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out three.
Dazzling debut Outfielder Matt Marquis made quite a splash in his debut with Lowell Saturday night with a solo homer in a 6-2 victory. It was his first hit with the Sox organization after being selected in the 41st round of this year’s draft.
A hemophiliac, Marquis has never allowed his blood disease to hinder his play, administering his own medicine since he was 10.
“It’s something I live with,’’ he said. “My medicine keeps me on the field and as long as I stay on top of it, I’m good.’’
Before joining Lowell, Marquis played 10 games this summer with Old Orchard of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, batting .306 (11 for 36) with 2 homers and 7 RBIs.
In his first game with the Spinners, Marquis, 21, of Annandale, N.J., started as the designated hitter. He walked and flied to center in his first two at-bats.
“I was joking around with some of the players that I was just going up there hacking until I got a home run,’’ Marquis said.
“Before that AB,’’ Febles said, “I said, ‘Hey, you haven’t gotten a hit yet, right? So why don’t you get your first hit out of the way?’ And he hit a homer.
“I told him, ‘Well, you got your first hit, your first run, and your first RBI out of the way.’ It was all in one swing. I said, ‘You haven’t struck out yet, right?’ And he goes, ‘No,’ then his next at-bat, he strikes out.’’
Rich Gedman, the Spinners’ hitting coach, delighted in seeing Marquis make his first trip round the bases.
“His first at-bat, he looked a little jumpy but worked the walk,’’ Gedman said. “The third time up, he looked like he settled in pretty good, got a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it.
“Anytime you see someone new come in and they’re trying to get their feet on the ground, they’re excited to be here and it’s like, ‘I’m OK, I belong here, this is great,’ it’s good stuff.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.