The worst part of it was the timing. Just as Kalish was in the final stages of his offseason conditioning program in late January, he received the crushing news that he needed to have right shoulder arthroscopy and posterior labrum repair.
Normally one of the most accessible players on the Red Sox, Kalish didn't speak about the surgery until Wednesday.
"Well, I mean, honestly I've been really down," Kalish said. "I disappeared. I know I didn't talk to some of you guys and I apologize, but it's just been really tough for me. I really just want to play again, whatever level. Obviously I want to play in the big leagues, but at this point, I'm just tired of being hurt."
Kalish's career started turning into a world of hurt in April 2011, when he had a vicious tumble while making a diving catch.
Last season, Kalish managed to get 228 at-bats between the Minors and Majors, but his neck and shoulder were still sore on a daily basis from the 2011 injury.
The outfielder hoped that a strong winter workout program this past offseason would lead to big things in 2013, particularly because the Red Sox could use a left-handed bat in left field to share playing time with Jonny Gomes.
But Kalish's non-throwing shoulder continued to nag at him.
"I'm happy that they got it fixed, because it just wasn't working," Kalish said. "It was too much pain. It was too hard to play with. It wouldn't have been good for me or the team. It was just time to do it."
At first, Kalish -- who had his other shoulder operated on two years ago -- was hoping he could push through the pain and still be ready for the start of the season.
"It was kind of hurting me throughout the process as soon as I started swinging," Kalish said. "I had a feeling, but obviously, with what I've been through already, the last thing I wanted was another surgery, so we decided to keep pushing through and keep trying.
"Eventually, after a couple shutdowns, more strengthening, no swinging, and as soon as you pick up a bat swinging, it hurts again. Eventually I just got tired of it. I had to make a call, and I said, 'I just can't do this anymore.' One thing is the pain, but the other is my head. It's just been a crazy ride ever since 2010. I just need to get healthy."
A month shy of his 25th birthday, Kalish still has plenty of time to have a solid career.
But he knew there was no point in forcing it this season.
"There was like a sharp, stabbing feeling when I got to contact, especially on the pitch away," Kalish said. "It didn't happen on every swing, but like I said, the percentages, I need to be able to hit the outside pitch the most. With that being said, it just wasn't going to work."