PAWTUCKET – The Pawtucket Red Sox – as well as Boston – now holds its collective breath regarding the left shoulder of outfield prospect Ryan Kalish.
Kalish make a diving grab to his left to rob Syracuse’s Michael Aubrey of a surefire base hit in the second inning of Thursday’s 14-0 matinee massacre of the Chiefs. Replays showed that the center fielder jammed his shoulder as he hit the turf and rolled over. Teammates quickly huddled around their fallen comrade as Kalish remained on the ground for several minutes.
Eventually he was able to get on his feet but needed assistance on his way to the dugout, as PawSox trainer Jon Jochim helped Kalish stabilize his arm as the two walked side-by-side.
Kalish immediately went to Memorial Hospital to undergo an X-ray. He returned to the PawSox clubhouse as players were busy packing their belongings for the upcoming road trip to Rochester and Lehigh Valley. Sporting a sling, Kalish declined to speak to reporters. It was not known if he boarded the team bus, though it’s worth noting there was a single traveling suitcase left behind in the clubhouse. In addition a backpack rested at Kalish’s stall.
Right fielder Josh Reddick was backing Kalish up on the play, screaming “dive,” which is code that a buffer is there.
“He caught it and never got up, but I didn’t see a whole lot,” Reddick said. “I thought it was his wrist at first. It was intense because I’ve played with him for a while. Usually with minor stuff, he’ll get right back up. He doesn’t come out of games for (minor injuries). Once I saw him struggling and grasping his shoulder and there was a grimace on his face, I could tell it was something serious.”
PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler spoke about Kalish’s condition prior to seeing the player’s left arm in a sling. “We’ll see. He hurt his shoulder when he rolled. It didn’t look real serious, but you never know. It was sore and hurting, which is why we got him out of there.”
Kalish is off to a slow start, hitting .236 with no homers and seven RBI. The 23-year-old scaled three levels of pro ball last season, appearing in 53 games with Boston, where he hit .252. The last significant injury he suffered came in 2007 while with Single-A Lowell, when a broken hamate bone cost him much of the second half of the season.
Shortstop Jose Iglesias was charging out to the outfield just as Kalish went into an all-out slide on his stomach.
“Everyone went out there to see how he was feeling,” Iglesias said. “It’s got to be sore. We need him because he’s a great player.”
Kalish’s departure overshadowed what was a brilliant day for the PawSox, who were buoyed by seven shutout innings from starter Brandon Duckworth and an offense that took advantage of 12 walks issued by Syracuse pitching. Seven of the walks came from Chiefs starting pitcher Garrett Mock, who walked in four runs with the bases loaded while out there for two-plus innings.
The PawSox knocked the Chiefs out cold in the third, an inning that saw the home team go off for nine runs and send 14 hitters to the plate. Nate Spears, who replaced Kalish in the lineup, delivered a grand slam in the frame as the PawSox took full-advantage of Syracuse’s ineffective pitching all game long. Drew Sutton was able to raise his batting average from .186 to .265 after producing a 5-for-6 day while Lars Anderson extended his hitting streak to a modest five games with three hits in five trips.
The offense was more than enough for PawSox pitchers, as Duckworth and Clevelan Santeliz teamed up on an eight-hitter en route to registering the team’s first shutout of the year. Now winners of six of their last seven, the PawSox will look to extend the good times on the road starting Friday afternoon in Rochester.
“He’s got a good four-pitch mix,” said Beyeler about the 35-year-old Duckworth, now 2-0. “He’s a veteran guy who knows how to change speeds and get guys out. He lets his defense help him, but above all else he pounds the strike zone and throws quality pitches.
“In this business you’re just happy to win, period,” continued Beyeler. “Guys are playing hard and doing things right. We’re pitching well and you always have a chance when that happens. We’re doing okay.”