SAN FRANCISCO – Ryan Kalish emerged as a good story in spring training, making the Opening Day roster after a series of injuries left him wondering if his career might be over.
But reality set in by Memorial Day as Junior Lake grabbed hold of the job in left field and the Cubs continued with their mix-and-match approach. With Justin Ruggiano (hamstring) coming off the disabled list on Monday, the Cubs decided to option Kalish to Triple-A Iowa.
“I just know I need to play,” Kalish told reporters at AT&T Park. “I haven’t played in so long, and playing time now has been a little sparse. It makes sense. I didn’t expect to be here at this point. I’m ready to go get my playing time, work on my game and get back ASAP.”
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Maybe Kalish — the minor league player of the year for the Boston Red Sox in 2009 — can learn something from Manny Ramirez and reboot his career in Des Moines.
Kalish hit .242 (22-for-91) and looked pretty good for a guy who missed the entire 2013 season, as well as most of the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Kalish, 26, has recovered from the cervical fusion surgery performed by the same doctor who did the neck procedure for Peyton Manning.
“Totally impressed,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “He came every day prepared. High energy. Defends well. Runs hard. I think just getting back in there on a daily basis to get his whole game going again (will) help him move forward. We’ll see him again.”