Red Sox Injury Update: Ryan Kalish, Jacoby Ellsbury, John Lackey

Boston, MA USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (2) hits a RBI walk off single during the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE

Ryan Kalish has appeared in just eight games in September, and none since the 16th of the month. He lost most of the 2011 season to neck and shoulder injuries, and has spent much of 2012 recovering from the surgeries that were meant to fix those issues. They're still lingering enough that the Red Sox have decided to all but shut down Kalish down for the rest of 2012.

Kalish is no longer swinging a bat, and while he is available in what Bobby Valentine deemed an emergency situation, he's unlikely to play again this year. The Red Sox haven't given up on him or anything like that, though, says Bobby V:

"I think he'll be on a program during the wintertime that will put his body and his mind in the exact place it needs to be [for him] to be the kind of player we need for next year," Valentine said.

Kalish has had a rough time in the majors this year, hitting .229/.272/.260, though, he was better in his last call-up, posting a 742 OPS in those 10 contests. He also scuffled in the minors after a strong start, with some believing the 24-year-old was pressing in order to earn a permanent spot in the majors with each at-bat.

The Red Sox don't have a set outfield for 2013, with no outfielders under contract -- Cody Ross is a free agent, and both Kalish and Jacoby Ellsbury are still under team control. Kalish is on the 40-man, and has an option for 2012, but even with this the case, there's a bit of a rush to figure out what he is so the Red Sox know if he's part of their future or not. Hopefully, one year further removed from the neck and shoulder problems, Kalish will look like the prospect that had Boston excited in the first place once again.

*****

Jacoby Ellsbury didn't play on Sunday at all, once again because of the mystery injury. Given he was a late scratch, and has been available to come in mid-game, it doesn't sound as if whatever this is is serious. Valentine described it as a "throwing issue" -- different from the regular throwing issues that the weak-armed Ellsbury possesses, anyway. One has to think that, were the Red Sox in contention, Ellsbury would likely be playing. But, given Boston is out of it, and losing is its own kind of success right now, there's no real reason to push it, especially in a year where Ellsbury has already been dealing with injury issues thanks to a separated shoulder suffered in April.

*****

John Lackey hasn't -- and won't -- throw a pitch with the 2012 Red Sox, but the right-hander is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery in order to be prepared for next year. He pitched against actual hitters for the first time this season, tossing two scoreless innings in the Instructional League on Sunday. Lackey struck out three batters in his pair of frames, and didn't yield a baserunner. It's a small step, but an important one, as the Red Sox will need Lackey in a 2013 rotation that won't be finalized until the off-season at the earliest, but maybe as late as spring training.

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