BOSTON -- After gaining the invaluable experience of starting for the Red Sox down the stretch in 2010, Ryan Kalish was supposed to cement his development back at Triple-A this season. Instead, his season -- effectively ruined when he sprained his right shoulder and partially tore his labrum while making a diving catch in April -- is officially over.

The left-handed-hitting outfielder will undergo surgery on his neck in the near future.

"It was an issue that needs surgery to resolve [a problem] involving one of his vertebrae behind his neck," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. "I understand that it's not the most invasive surgery. It's sort of something that he'll be able to bounce back from 100 percent.

"The way procedures are these days with modern medicine, it's a very good success rate with no limitations going forward after that. ... Obviously, it's a tough break for him. It's kind of a lost season for him. It's really unfortunate, but it's not something that should get in the way of next year."

Kalish actually made it back in August, playing games for Class A Lowell and Triple-A Pawtucket. But it became obvious there were still complications from the injury.

"I think he'll be fine," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "I don't think that's an issue. I think what everybody feels bad about is that the kid lost a year, basically -- a really big year of development. And he'll come back and be fine. But it basically cost him a year, and now it's going to cut into his winter. But he's a tough enough kid, and he'll do whatever it takes. There's a ton of confidence in his ability to come back. It just cost him a year of development."

Red Sox acquire CoJack from A's

BOSTON -- The Red Sox helped solidify their bench late on Wednesday night, acquiring outfielder/first baseman Conor Jackson and cash from the Oakland Athletics for pitching prospect Jason Rice.

The move came before the midnight ET deadline to acquire players who are eligible for the postseason roster.

And it came just hours after general manager Theo Epstein speculated he wouldn't be able to make a trade before the deadline.

"It's definitely exciting," Jackson said. "I'm at a little loss for words right now. If you had told me on the 31st at 11:45 I would have gotten traded ... it's just exciting.

"I don't think you could be a guy in my position to ask for anything better, going to a big-market team where there's probably the best fans in baseball."

A right-handed hitter, Jackson is hitting .249 with four homers and 38 RBIs in 102 games and 333 at-bats this season.

The Red Sox have a first baseman who plays just about all the time in Adrian Gonzalez, so Jackson will probably see far more action in the outfield.

"I'll probably have the same role -- coming off the bench against lefties," Jackson said. "But whatever it is, I'll be grateful for it. I think the opportunity to play in October is unparalleled to anything else."

Josh Reddick, who has been starting the majority of games for the Red Sox in right field in the second half, has been in a slump of late. J.D. Drew could be close to being activated from the disabled list, but suffered a sprained middle finger in his right hand on Tuesday.

Jackson's best seasons were 2006-07, when he belted 15 homers each year.

Until being traded to the A's last season, he had spent his entire season with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The 29-year-old Jackson, who has worked out with current Red Sox Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis in past offseasons, has played 646 games in the Majors, hitting .272 with 51 homers and 290 RBIs.

Rice was selected by the Red Sox in the Triple-A portion of the 2008 Rule 5 Draft.

Finger sprain slows Drew's return to Boston

BOSTON -- The Red Sox's original plan of activating right fielder J.D. Drew on Thursday -- when rosters are expanded from 25 men to 40 -- is likely to be stalled. Amid a three-hit night on Tuesday for Triple-A Pawtucket, Drew sprained the middle finger of his right hand.

"I wouldn't rule it out, but we're going to take a look at him," said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. "It's probably unlikely -- less likely now, certainly, than it was before this setback or before this new minor injury occurred. ... Again, I don't think it was anything major, but it's just kind of uncomfortable swinging the bat today when he tried it."

Drew was supposed to play again for Pawtucket on Wednesday, but he had to take the night off because of the finger injury. With Pawtucket off on Thursday, Drew will rejoin the Red Sox in Boston and be examined by the team's medical staff.

The original injury Drew was dealing with was an impingement of his left shoulder.

Third baseman Kevin Youkilis, on the disabled list with a lower back strain, will play his second game for Pawtucket on Wednesday and should be activated by the Red Sox on Friday -- the first day he is eligible.

While Dustin Pedroia had been serving as Boston's cleanup man during the absence of Youkilis, David Ortiz was vaulted into the four-hole on Wednesday. Pedroia moved back to the two-hole. The move was made for matchup reasons on a night the Sox were facing right-hander Phil Hughes.

"It's not so much Pedey," said Epstein. "In fact, it's none Pedey. I'd like to [bat] him third, fourth and fifth. I think getting David [to clean up] -- [we're] stacking our lefties as much as we can. [Boone] Logan is their one lefty, and he's actually been tougher on righties. So we'll try to beat their starter."

Potential GM opening no distraction to Theo

BOSTON -- Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, whose name was mentioned in the rumor mill last week as a potential candidate for the Chicago Cubs' front office, said before Wednesday's game against the Yankees that he's as focused as ever on his current job.

"I try to avoid commenting on things that are so speculative," Epstein said. "Obviously, there were a couple articles that appeared, but I can say I'm completely focused on the Red Sox -- the 2011 Red Sox, first and foremost. What potentially lies ahead for this club, we're really focused on trying to get to the postseason, win another World Series.

"I spend all my time working with my staff, trying to make this the organization we want this to be, building for the future, and that's where my exclusive focus is. Something like that -- I can't even contemplate it long enough to comment on it. I'm all Red Sox, all the time.

While Epstein obviously had some conflict with the direction of the organization when he briefly resigned from his post in November 2005, he sounds as if he couldn't be happier these days.

"I'm really happy to be with the Red Sox," Epstein said. "I'm really happy to have the ability to come into work every day at a place like this. Again, we spend all our time in making this into the organization we want it to be, building for the future, focusing on this year, maximizing our competitiveness for this year. Anyone associated with the Red Sox would have to be happy working here."

Though they haven't clinched anything yet, it is highly likely the Sox will be back in the postseason for the seventh time in Epstein's nine years in office.

"We put ourselves in a position, if we continue to play well, to accomplish at least the first of our goals and go from there," Epstein said. "We haven't done anything yet. We said that in Spring Training, and that was literally true; now, it's not literally true.

"We bounced back from a rough start and had a nice season so far, but all that does is put us in a position where if we execute, if we work hard, if we prepare, we stay together as a team and play well, we can accomplish the first of our goals and go from there."

Vaughn among former Sox to visit Fenway

BOSTON -- There was a mid- to late-1990s feel to the Red Sox before Wednesday's game against the Yankees. Mo Vaughn and John Valentin, two cornerstones of the club during their time in uniform, threw out ceremonial first pitches and spent some time in the clubhouse. Nomar Garciaparra, currently working as an analyst for ESPN, also spent time on the field with Vaughn and Valentin during batting practice.

Vaughn and Valentin were on hand to help promote the annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund radio-telethon.

Once a beloved slugger for the Red Sox -- the former first baseman was essentially David Ortiz without the championship hardware -- Vaughn has kept a low profile around Fenway since the end of his playing career.

"I've been here a couple of times over the last couple, few years, kind of just stopping in between work, checking the games out [to] get about six or seven innings in and get out of here," Vaughn said. "It looks nice, right? It looks good."

Vaughn has made a nice second career for himself developing low-income housing developments.

The "Hit Dog" -- as he was known in his playing days -- has thoroughly enjoyed following Ortiz's years in Boston.

"He's better than me," Vaughn said. "He did it in the clutch. He did it in the World Series. It's great to see somebody else utilizing what this ballpark can really do with the average and power. It's a great thing."

While Vaughn -- the American League's Most Valuable Player in 1995 -- had a bitter parting with the Red Sox when he signed with the Angels as a free agent, and later played for the Mets, his legacy is with the "B" on his cap.

"We don't even want to remember those Anaheim, Mets days anyway," Vaughn said. "But I think any name I made for myself I made here in Boston. I'm in the Red Sox Hall of Fame, so this is just where it's at."

Valentin, who also had a pretty good career in his own right, was also happy to take a stroll down memory lane.

"It brings back a lot of memories, and the ballpark is obviously a historic place," Valentin said. "But the fans -- coming back and seeing the fans and the passion they have, it's great to come back, obviously, playing the Yankees. That's also very special. The rivalry is very special.