BOSTON (CBS) – For Ryan Kalish, it was a long battle back to the Major Leagues.
But when he got the call back, his return happened quick.
Kalish was activated by the Red Sox Sunday morning, replacing outfielder Ryan Sweeney who was put on the 15-day disabled list. He was in Buffalo with the Pawtucket Red Sox when he received the call Sunday, and hopped on a plane to Chicago to join the team for their Sunday night series finale.
When he arrived to Wrigley, the 24-year-old found out he’d be in a Major League lineup for the first time since 2010, batting eighth and playing center.
He admitted afterwards, there were some butterflies that went with it.
“I had them,” Kalish said after the 7-4 win. “I always have them, every day. Obviously today, it was a little bigger. But they’ll calm down and I can get into playing baseball.”
Kalish finished the game 1-for-4, but made his mark when it counted. With the score tied 3-3 in the seventh inning, Kalish singled in the go-ahead run off reliever James Russell. 0-for-3 at the time, and with a lefty on the hill, he expected to be pinch hit for.
“(I) got a chance in a big situation; kind of got over-anxious at first,” he said. “I just stepped out [of the box], told myself this is baseball, I’ve been here before.”
A few batters later, with the Sox up 5-3, Kalish crossed the plate on Daniel Nanva’s squeeze bunt to put Boston up a 6-3. He finished the night with a single, run scored, and an RBI.
Kalish missed nearly the entire 2011 season after injuring his left shoulder attempting to make a diving catch for Pawtucket last April. That triggered a bulging disc in his back, and both injuries required surgery and a lengthy rehab. Now, one of Boston’s top prospects is back in the Majors, and with Sweeney hitting the DL and Scott Podsednik leaving the Sunday’s game in the fifth, Kalish is hoping for some more playing time in the near future.
“I want to get in that lineup and continue to be a spark,” he said. “If they call on me, I’ll play.”
In 54 career games in the Majors, Kalish is batting .251 with four home runs and 25 RBI.