PAWTUCKET – Just because Ryan Kalish spent some time with the Boston Red Sox recently doesn’t mean the outfielder is completely in the clear of the shoulder and neck injuries that whitewashed his 2011 season.
“I think we kind of associate him with someone who went through Tommy John (surgery) and is working his way back,” was the caution flag waved by PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler Thursday, a day that saw Kalish officially rejoin the Triple-A ballclub after getting optioned last weekend. “He hasn’t played in almost a year and to think he’s going to jump back in and grind every day, it’s going to be a tough deal.
“He needs some days off and we need to take care of him and progress him through the season so that he’s strong when he goes out there and doesn’t put himself in a position to break down or get hurt again,” Beyeler continued. “We’ll monitor his work load a little bit in case the phone rings and he needs to go back up.”
From his vantage point, Kalish chalks up the 18 games he spent with Boston as a valuable learning experience. The 24-year-old understands that the structured rehab plan he was on during his first go-around with the PawSox – playing the outfield two or three days in a row followed by a DH stint – went out the window the moment he was summoned to the majors.
Ever the competitor, Kalish – with Jason Repko sporting No. 11, the number Kalish wore in his first PawSox stint, the prospect broke out the No. 5 Thursday – welcomed the challenge of being relied upon while with Boston.
“I felt a little of that pressure [that goes with playing in Boston], but you’ve got to get used to it,” he said. “Being up there was a good learning experience and now I’ve got to keep moving forward and be more prepared for hopefully the next time I get a chance.”
Kalish was one of two outfielders the PawSox added to the roster Thursday, the second being 36-year-old Scott Podsednik, who was taken off his rehab assignment and officially optioned to the minors a week ago.
Believe it or not, the move of shifting Podsednik to the PawSox was not a complicated one. A veteran of 10 MLB seasons, Podsednik mentioned that he still had options remaining. His re-entry comes at a time when the Red Sox have a plethora of outfielders that could prove handy with the non-waiver trade deadline on tap on the final day of the month.
In the meantime Podsednik realizes that all he can do is keep on performing in the event the Red Sox need him again. Following a nine-game stay with the PawSox that saw him bat .225 with a homer and 11 RBI, Podsednik lit up Boston to the tune of a .387 average in 19 games.
“Wherever you’re at all you can do is play your game and hopefully somebody takes notice,” said Podsednik. “You can get called up or see who’s coming off the disabled list or wonder about who’s getting traded, but you waste a lot of time and energy worrying about those types of things.
“The thing is you can’t control that type of stuff. All we can do is go out and play,” Podsednik added. “Over the years I’ve come to understand that. I know it’s easier said than done, but that’s the bottom line.”
For Ryan Lavarnway, his Triple-A All-Star Game experience came with an additional perk – that of reuniting with Tim Federowicz. A year ago, the two were seen as the top two catching prospects in Boston’s farm system before Federowicz was dealt last July 31 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Now Federowicz is a farmhand in a different system while Lavarnway remains with the same organization that selected him in 2008. The Sox also drafted Federowicz the same year. The two went on to be teammates at four different minor-league stops; the last time such a circumstance took place was last season in Double-A Portland.
“We were always friendly competitors,” said Lavarnway with a smile. “We spent a lot of time together (in Buffalo, site of the gathering of Class AAA’s best) and it was good to see him. We talked about being teammates and coming up together.”
Lavarnway started the midseason game for the International League squad, going
1-for-2. After boarding an early flight Thursday morning, the 24-year-old found himself back behind the plate as the PawSox opened the second half of 2012 season.
“They’ll be time to rest in the offseason,” Lavarn-way said with a smile.
Beyeler had high praise for BoSox shortstop prospect Xander Bogaerts, who the skipper got to see up-close at the All-Star Futures Game celebration in Kansas City earlier this week. Beyeler served a coach on the World squad, of which Bogaerts, a 19-year-old currently toiling in Single-A Salem, played on.
"He belongs there," Beyeler said. "He reminds me a lot of Hanley (Ramirez) and (Alfonso) Soriano and those kind of guys. He's always got a smile on his face. He can swing the bat. He has fun. He enjoys doing what he's doing. He's a good kid. He works real hard. The sky's the limit. We'll see how it ends up for him."
Beyeler was certainly the busy beaver during baseball’s annual in-season hiatus. Following his duties in K.C., he flew to Buffalo – with teenage son Brady in tow – to serve as a coach on the International League All-Star contingent.
“Everything was kind of a blur,” notes Beyeler.