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Former Red Sox outfielder Ryan Kalish signs with Cubs

12.13.13 at 10:38 pm ET
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Outfielder Ryan Kalish, who became a free agent when the Red Sox elected not to tender him a major league contract for the 2014 season, signed a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training with the Cubs. Kalish, 25, had spent his entire professional career with the Sox after they drafted him in the ninth round in 2006. He appeared a potential everyday fixture for the Sox when he made a strong debut as a 22-year-old in 2010, hitting .252 with a .305 OBP, .405 slugging mark, four homers and 10 steals (in 11 attempts) in 53 games at the end of 2010. However, he spent most of the next three years dealing with a host of serious injuries that required four major surgeries — one on each shoulder and two on his neck, most recently a fusion of his neck vertebrae in August.

When he was non-tendered, Kalish told WEEI.com that he understood the Sox’ decision, and harbored nothing but goodwill towards the organization for whom he’d played.

“At this point in my life, I’m in a place where I just have a lot of love for everybody that has been with me along this path. That includes the Red Sox and everything we’ve been through together. Honestly, I don’t feel much right now except for just a mutual respect between myself and the team and [Sox GM Ben Cherington],” Kalish said by phone at the time from California, where he is rehabbing under Dr. Robert Watkins, who performed his most recent neck surgery. “There’s uncertainty with me, which I understand, because of my health questions. I’m not taking it bad at all. It’s just a new adventure along this path and it’s just so fresh.

“I’m just kind of excited to see where this goes,” he added. “I’m feeling myself come back from that frail, fragile person that I felt I was. Right now, I’m getting the athleticism back. I was just with my family and we were playing tennis and just having a good time together. It’s starting to come back and I’m really excited to try and get out there and improve my health wherever that may be.”

While Kalish left open the possibility of re-signing with the Red Sox, he instead ended up signing with the Cubs, an organization whose president of baseball operations (Theo Epstein), general manager (Jed Hoyer) and assistant GM (Jason McLeod) all were key decision-makers with the Sox when Kalish was drafted.

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