Prospect Kalish enjoys memorable debut
Red Sox outfielder collects hit in first at-bat, adds RBI single
BOSTON -- The biggest acquisition the Red Sox made on Saturday's non-waiver Trade Deadline was courtesy of the farm system. Outfielder Ryan Kalish, touted for a while as one of the most intriguing prospects in the organization, was summoned to Fenway Park and arrived less than an hour before the game.
Originally, Jeremy Hermida was supposed to play left field on Saturday and hit eighth. Instead, the slumping veteran was designated for assignment with the hope that Kalish could bring a burst of energy for a team trying to fight its way back into the heart of postseason contention.
The first day of Kalish's career brought good returns. Kalish lined a single to right in his first Major League at-bat in the third. In the seventh, he laced another single to right and roared all the way from first to score on Darnell McDonald's double to left.
At the time, the Sox trailed, 4-2. They wound up winning, 5-4, on David Ortiz's walk-off three-run double to left-center in the bottom of the ninth.
"I've never felt this much energy in a stadium," said Kalish. "This is Fenway Park. It's been around forever. A three-run walk-off double is one of those things where when you watch on TV, you're watching all the guys freaking out. I was one of those guys freaking out today, and it was a lot of fun."
The Red Sox have lacked production in left field all season, and Kalish -- a ninth-round selection in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft -- will get a chance to help remedy that.
"I think Ryan understands that when you come up, it can be for a day, it can be for a month, it can be for the rest of your career," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. "It depends on how things evolve. We're not looking at him as a savior. He's here because of the things he brings to the table, his overall game, his advanced approach at the plate, the energy and intensity that he plays with. He's a good baseball player."
Kalish hit.293 with eight homers and 29 RBIs in 41 games at Pawtucket. He missed time earlier in the season with a hip flexor injury.
He was thrilled -- and surprised -- to get the call on Saturday.
"We had taken a flight from Toledo, and we got in, we had an early wakeup, and they said, 'Hey, you've got to go up [to Boston], there's something going on. Those are one of those days where it's the big leagues, you've got to be excited to help everybody win," said Kalish. "If you can't get up for that, I wonder what you're doing."
In recent years, Red Sox manager Terry Francona has had a chance to witness the debuts of homegrown products like Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury. This marked another new chapter for a young player the Sox are high on.
"Pretty exciting day again for the organization," Francona said. "What a kid. It is a pretty big compliment to him that we think he can come up right smack in the middle of our season and give us a boost."
And Red Sox fans are sure to like the comparison Francona made after Kalish's first game in the Majors.
"It is almost like Trot Nixon came," Francona said. "He looks like him, plays like him. He is going to be fun to watch grow into a really good player."
Ellsbury, who has played just nine games this season because of fractured left ribs, should return at some point next week. It remains to be seen how that will impact Kalish's role with the team. Mike Cameron has been dealing with a sore lower abdomen all season and his availability depends on how he feels each day.
For now, Kalish won't worry about any of that. He is just looking forward to thriving on the opportunity.
"You're out there just playing the game," Kalish said. "You're playing for the Boston Red Sox, [who have] has such a great reputation. Once you're out there playing the game, it's all good. I just knew that everyone in here is all about winning. That's something that I just want to bring here, a mental attitude of always trying to win, because that's what it's all about."
Lowell's future remains unclear
BOSTON -- One matter the Red Sox were still trying to finalize on Saturday evening was the future of corner infielder Mike Lowell, whose role has been minimized on this year's team.
Lowell finished his Minor League rehab assignment on Wednesday, but the club had yet to activate him. Boston was trying to find a home for him before Saturday's Trade Deadline, but nothing could be worked out.
Lowell had nothing to say about his situation after Saturday's game, and Red Sox manager Terry Francona said the widely respected veteran is still mulling his future. Lowell is certain to clear waivers given his contract, meaning the Red Sox could still trade him or designate him for assignment rather than activate him.
After missing three games, Drew returns
BOSTON -- A day after J.D. Drew nearly returned to the lineup, he actually did so on Saturday. The Red Sox right fielder was back in there after missing the previous three starts with a strained left hamstring. Drew was originally in manager Terry Francona's starting nine on Friday but was scratched at the last minute. He did pinch-hit in the game, drawing a walk.
"We'll take another day and see if we can get on top of it a little bit better," said Drew. "I'll go in there and warm up. I feel pretty good. It's hopefully something I won't have for too much longer, but possibly could deal with it for a little more down the road, but manage it as far as being able to stay on the field."
At a time when the Red Sox can't afford to fall any further back in the postseason races than they are, they need all the healthy bodies they can get. Drew's bat and glove are certainly important pieces.
"I'm hoping he's good enough to play," said Francona. "At this point [Friday], he was in there, too, but I do think there's enough improvement where we expect him to play. We'll go out for BP and if something goes haywire or if he doesn't feel good enough, we'll make a change."
Just as Drew reentered the mix, center fielder Mike Cameron was out of the lineup with recurring soreness in his lower abdomen.
Cameron has been day to day virtually all season and Saturday was a day game after a night game.
"I don't know about a scheduled [day off]," said Francona. "He's sore. We're trying to, as always, communicate with him, see how he feels, and go from there. We always kind of give him the, 'Let him wake up in the morning, see how he feels,' unless we tell him the night before he's not playing. But we told him this morning to check with us, and after we talked to him [we] decided it would be in his best interest not to play today."
Darnell McDonald filled in for Cameron in center and batted ninth.
Lefty Doubront transitioning to 'pen
BOSTON -- While the Red Sox continued to look for relief help in the final hours leading up to Saturday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, they were trying to bolster the position internally by transitioning lefty Felix Doubront to the bullpen at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Doubront started three games for the Red Sox this season, going 1-2 with a 4.11 ERA.
While the club still views him as a starter down the road, it is intrigued at what type of help he might be able to provide down the stretch as a reliever. Boston made the same move with righty starter Michael Bowden last month.
"He's going to be a starter," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "A Major League starter. But I think for the rest of the year, we think he can impact us out of the bullpen. But we want to, like we did with these other guys, give him some innings out of the bullpen. To bring a kid right from starting, especially when the majority of his innings are in the Minor Leagues, and put him in the bullpen, with runners on, that's not fair to him. So we'll give him some time to get his feet wet a little bit."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.