UPDATE: Kalish will have right shoulder surgery next week, reports Ian Browne of MLB.com.
6:56 PM: Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that Kalish is expected to undergo another shoulder surgery and will likely be out longer to start 2013 than he was last year. There’s little doubt that Kalish has the talent to be a useful player in the big leagues, but he just can’t stay on the field.
6:47 PM: Ryan Kalish likely would have logged significant playing time in Boston’s injury-plagued outfield last year, but he missed the early part of the season while he was rehabbing from shoulder surgery. It sounds like he’s going to get a late start again in 2013.
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Kalish will likely need surgery for an unspecified injury, which would force him to miss spring training. This confirms a report by Matthew Stucko of MiLB.com. The specific nature of the injury isn’t yet known, but Bradford hears that it isn’t related to Kalish’s neck, which required surgery in September of 2011.
Kalish, who turns 25 in March, batted .229 (22-for-96) with three doubles, five RBI, three stolen bases and a .532 OPS in 103 plate appearances with the Red Sox last season. He probably would have needed a big spring to beat out Daniel Nava for a spot on the Opening Day roster, but thanks to more bad luck on the injury front, he apparently won’t even get the chance to compete.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.