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May 27, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Kalish: 'I've just got to push through it'

Ryan Kalish (Dave Letizi)
Outfielder Ryan Kalish got his first action in the field since last August 20 on Sunday, and followed up Saturday’s 2 for 4 performance with a 1 for 4 showing in Salem’s 2-1 rain-shortened loss to Frederick (BAL).

After the game, Kalish, who had labrum surgery in November 2011, said he felt good about his performance, but was “still playing through some aches and pains” in his left shoulder.

“That’s to be expected,” he said. “I’ve just got to push through it for now and just keep grinding. That’s part of the game, playing through some stuff. Everything is healthy right now, it’s just…baseball is a taxing game. People don’t think so, but you play every day. It’s just getting used to everything.”

Kalish played in extended spring training games for a week and a half before joining Salem for Saturday’s showdown with Dylan Bundy, and went 2 for 4 as the designated hitter in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to Frederick.

He struck out looking at an 0-2 96 mph fastball in the first inning, and got his first hit of the season to open the fourth when he beat out a grounder in the hole at short for an infield single. Kalish picked up his second strikeout of the night in the sixth, but led off the ninth with a solo shot to right-center field that cut Salem’s deficit to two.

“I didn’t expect to hit a long-ball yet, but that’s the way that that happens,” he said. “You just swing and sometimes you hit a home run, and sometimes you strike out.”

Kalish played center field and hit third Sunday, and began his day with a hard groundball off the pitcher that went for an infield single. He was caught stealing to end the frame, and that would be the last time he reached base on the day. In the third, Kalish couldn’t hold up on an outside changeup for strike three, and he rolled over a 0-1 pitch for a 3-1 groundout in the sixth inning. With one down in the eighth, Kalish popped up to short to end his day. Even so, Kalish said he’s “really happy” with where his swing is so far.

“Everything is feeling good, and I’m comfortable,” he said. “When I go up there, I’m not fearing anything.”

In center, Kalish had six chances on Sunday, all but one of which were lazy fly balls that he handled with ease. A first-inning double to left-center hit the wall just out Kalish’s reach, but he said it’s a bit early in his rehab to be crashing into walls — especially hard ones like Frederick’s.

“That’s just asking for trouble,” he said. “That’s one of those things where even if I’m totally fine, I don’t know. You’ve got to be careful with those kind of walls. Bad things can happen, that’s one thing I’m starting to learn. You need to really watch yourself. If I was in Pawtucket and there was a pad, it might be a little different.” He said he was “a little tentative throwing, but that’s to be expected.”

According to Kalish, the plan was for him to serve as the designated hitter for the Salem's 1:00 p.m. game Monday, and finish off the two-game homestand against Lynchburg with a full game in center field Tuesday. He was unsure of where his rehab would continue.

Jon Meoli is a Senior Columnist for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonMeoli.