Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Kid Kalish at center of Sox plans
By Gordon Edes
BOSTON -- Sure, Mike Cameron said, he remembers his first grand slam.
“It was in Minnesota, in the Metrodome,’’ he said. “I hit it to left-center.’’
Cameron’s first slam came in 2000, five years after he’d made his big-league debut as a late-summer callup for the Chicago White Sox.
Ryan Kalish has a big welcoming party after hitting his first big league grand slam.
Ryan Kalish’s first grand slam, which was retrieved by Red Sox coach Gary Tuck in the home bullpen at Fenway on Tuesday night, came in his 15th game in the big leagues. Cameron was asked if he thought Kid Kalish would remember it.
“Of course,’’ he said. “I don’t think they forget too many things that happen around here.’’
Kalish connected off Angels right-hander Jered Weaver, who had come into the game with an 0.82 ERA over his previous three starts, but loaded the bases in the fourth on an opposite-field single by David Ortiz and two-out walks to J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell, the latter drawing a base on balls after being down 1-and-2.
“I knew [Weaver] had a good changeup,’’ Kalish said. “I kind of had a feeling he would throw it. I recognized it. I wasn’t trying to hit a home run. I was just trying to hit it hard.
“It was unreal. Especially here, my first home run here, and just being a part of a win.’’
Kalish, 22, is the sixth outfielder either promoted from Pawtucket or added from outside the organization since the season began, joining Darnell McDonald, Daniel Nava, Eric Patterson, Josh Reddick and Jonathan Van Every. But Kalish, who began the season in Double-A, could wind up playing a role as important, if not more so, than any of his predecessors down the stretch.
Cameron said Tuesday night he is done for the rest of the season, and Jacoby Ellsbury has a fractured rib, a source told ESPNBoston.com, meaning Kalish could play a good deal of center field over the last quarter of the season.
Though he did not reference the injuries to Cameron and Ellsbury, manager Terry Francona said that the plan for the immediate future is for Kalish to get the majority of playing time in center.
Cameron, for one, believes the rookie is up to it. Kalish is batting an even .300 (15-for-50) so far, with two home runs and eight RBIs. He also has been impressive defensively, exhibiting good speed, good jumps and a strong arm.
“What Kalish has done is very rare for young guys who come up to this type of environment,’’ Cameron said. “He’s making adjustments, he’s shown he’s able to hit lefties. We all know there’s going to be a time more adjustments have to be made, but he seems to have a sponge for making adjustments. He seems to be a very good listener, which combined with the talent he possesses, is big. Playing in this division, under the direct pressure of a pennant race, he seems to be handling it very well.’’