Red Sox Can't Afford to Shut Down Ryan Kalish Despite his recent injury and the number of outfielders already on the Red Sox roster, Ryan Kalish should not be shut down for the season just yet.

Kalish is considered the top outfield prospect in the organization, often compared to former Sox outfielder Trot Nixon.

Last year, the 23-year-old showed flashes of greatness in the outfield in 2010 — especially during one particular play against the Rays — as well as on the base paths, stealing a team-high 10 bases on 11 attempts.

Although he only had a .252 batting average in just 53 games last year, it was his first year at the professional level and he’s still viewed by several experts, including Peter Gammons, as having great potential at the plate.

“I see him being a guy, he doesn’t swing and miss a lot, who’s going to hit somewhere between .280 and .300, hit 25 home runs, he can run,” Gammons said, according to “I think he’s going to be a really exciting player.”

However, there is the possibility of surgery to repair the outfielder’s “partially torn” labrum in his throwing shoulder if it does not heal on its own. But the Red Sox can’t afford to shut him down just yet.

Behind the starting three outfielders — Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew — the outfielders on the Sox’ bench has been struggling. Mike Cameron has just three hits in 22 at-bats this season, none of which for extra bases.

Darnell McDonald also served as a great role player last year, batting .270 and .294 against left-handed pitchers. However, he only has two hits in 15 at-bats this season, and his only flash of life was his solo shot against David Price on April 12.

The Red Sox could also look elsewhere in Triple-A to find players to roam the outfield while one of their starting three outfielders takes a day off, but they won’t find much immediate talent.

In 29 games last year, Josh Reddick had a low .194 batting average, a .206 on base percentage and a .323 slugging percentage. The 24-year-old has a lot of promise, as he continues to produce at the Triple-A level, but the outfielder has shown little life at the major league level. He’ll have his time in Boston at some point, but for now he fits best in Pawtucket.

Then there’s Daniel Nava, who was, for lack of a better term, a one-hit wonder in 2010, when he posted a .242 batting average and did not hit a home run following his first-pitch grand slam in June. Nava did hit well at Fenway Park, however, posting a .291 batting average. It was a different story on the road, where he had a mere .187 average.

Do you think the Sox’ current backup situation in the outfield is stable? Share your thoughts below.