No matter what year, there always is at least one player that surprises everybody during the course of Spring Training. For Cubs this Spring, that player has been outfielder Ryan Kalish.
The 26-year old outfielder has dealt with injuries in each of the past two seasons. A shoulder injury plagued Kalish during the 2o12 season, and injuries refrained Kalish from playing at all during the 2013 season. Last season, Kalish underwent two surgeries–one surgery to repair his right shoulder in January of 2013 and a cervical fusion surgery on his neck in August.
2013 was supposed to be a season where Kalish earned significant playing time with the Red Sox. Instead, Kalish spent the entire season rehabbing from injuries.
The Cubs signed Kalish to a minor-league deal after the outfielder was non-tendered by the Red Sox in the off-season.
Entering Spring, Kalish was no more than a fringe player on the Cubs’ spring roster that would likely be sent down to Minor League camp. With two weeks to go before Opening Day, not only does Kalish now appear to have a real opportunity of making the Major League roster but the outfielder is believed to be pushing Nate Schierholtz in right field for starting time.
In 10 games this Spring, Kalish is 8-for-25 (.320) to go along with 1 double and an OBP of .433.
Kalish certainly has been a surprise for the Cubs during Spring Training. Kalish has been such a surprise that the Cubs have been reportedly shopping Schierholtz to interested teams in recent weeks.
In any event, after a miserable 2013 season, Kalish may be quite the comeback story for the Cubs in 2014.