PAWTUCKET – All Jason Repko can do is sit tight, hoping that his chance at parole from baseball’s version of no-man’s-land comes sooner rather than later.
Repko’s placement on the disabled list on July 7 has absolutely nothing do with the hamstring strain that has hamstrung the 31-year-old outfielder to the point that even the player doesn’t know when he’ll be activated. For someone who is completely healthy, Repko finds himself the victim of a numbers game due to the Red Sox being presently flush with outfielders at the major-league and Triple-A levels.
It cuts deeper as Repko has resigned himself to the fact that chances of him seeing the field for Pawtucket hinge upon some sort of player movement, and even then there’s no guarantees that he becomes the choice to fill the void.
I’m just waiting; I have no control,” sighed Repko on Monday afternoon. “All I can do is show up to the ballpark each day, get my work done and see how all the pieces fall. Whenever that time is, I’ll be ready.”
Finding himself buried on the depth chart at the minor-league level can’t be an easy pill to swallow, but Repko says he understands why he’s the odd man out at this particular juncture.
“There are so many outfielders here (in Pawtucket),” he said, the group ahead of him ranging from veteran types (Scott Podsednik) to players on the 40-man roster (Ryan Kalish, Che-Hsuan Lin) and 20-somethings (Alex Hassan, J.C. Linares). “If something happens now or next week, I have to keep myself ready.”
Starts and stalls have been commonplace in Repko’s season. After four games with the PawSox, he was summoned to Boston on April 15 in what proved to be a short and painful stay. At a time when the Red Sox were unsure when Carl Crawford would return and the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury was still relatively new, Repko had a golden chance to stake his claim.
Then came April 20, which saw Repko suffer a left shoulder separation while making a diving catch. He was sidelined for close to two months before being officially outrighted to Pawtucket on June 22. Repko appeared in 10 games since his reclassification, hitting just .244. Previously with the Dodgers and Twins, Repko last appeared in a game with Pawtucket on July 5 – two days has before being placed in limbo.
“The more you spend on worrying about stuff like that, the harder it is,” said Repko, generally one of the more upbeat guys in the clubhouse. “When you know the situation, it makes it easier. You see all the moves being made and I know how it is. You have to wait.”
One of the players currently blocking Repko’s path to playing time is Kalish. Monday saw the outfielder undergo an MRI just to make certain that there was nothing structurally wrong with the knee that went crashing into the wall, the result of an amazing grab he made in center field last Friday.
“With the knee, structurally you never know what’s going to happen, but (the MRI) was good for everyone,” said Kalish.
Kalish expressed optimism about avoiding a trip to the disabled list, yet he knows there’s no sense in quickly hurrying back if he’s still experiencing soreness.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but what’s the difference between three or five days?” Kalish noted.
Added PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler, “We're just going to make sure he's okay and give him time to come back.”
Even though this lull is the result of an on-field setback the break figures to serve Kalish well, especially when taking into account the steady diet of action he’s received following nearly a year off due to neck and shoulder ailments.
“My body has been through a lot and it might be another year until I feel really good,” Kalish said, “but I’ll be back out there soon.”
Beyeler was able to enjoy a rare in-game experience on Sunday upon getting ejected, that of viewing the action on television. The skipper ended up watching the final seven innings of a 14-inning marathon from the comforts of his office, which allowed Beyeler to pick up on tendencies that aren’t as apparent while sitting in the dugout.
“You see (Ryan) Lavarnway catching balls behind the plate and the release points of (Daniel) Bard and (Mark) Prior along with the mechanical things we talk about,” Beyeler said. “It was nice to see things from a different angle.”
EXTRA BASES: Shortstop Jose Iglesias was in the leadoff spot for the second straight game. … Mount St. Charles graduate and Cumberland native Meghan Lydon performed the national anthem. Lydon played tennis for the Mounties. … The PawSox welcomed back lefty reliever Will Latimer on Monday while infielder Ryan Dent was optioned to Double-A Portland. Latimer’s previous stint with Pawtucket saw him go 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in four appearances.