Kalish makes first start in center field

Kalish makes first start in center field

ARLINGTON -- The Red Sox were looking for a chance to play rookie Ryan Kalish in center field, and manager Terry Francona figured Sunday was a pretty good day to do it.

With Jacoby Ellsbury on the 15-day disabled list with his recurring rib injury -- and with 43 games left after Sunday, maybe done for the season -- the Red Sox need to figure out what to do about center field. Kalish, who Francona said is a solid outfielder, was in center field with Darnell McDonald, who played there Saturday, in left field. McDonald has started 39 games in the Red Sox's revolving door center-field position.

"We have some decisions to make coming up here about who plays, when they play, where," Francona said. "If he can handle this like we think he can, that tends to make us a little bit better."

Francona said Kalish has the ability to play all three positions. He gets high marks for paying attention, listening, being coachable and runs well enough to play center.

"He's probably not a burner, but he has good speed," Francona said. "He sort of has that nose for the ball, where you put a glove on him and he can kind of smell it. You get more out of him. That's probably not a very good explanation, but he kind of has a nose for the ball."

Is Ellsbury's season over?

"Well, [he's] not [going to play] for two weeks," Francona said. "We have to finish these next two weeks, and I don't know after. We have 13 games."

Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.