Prospect Q&A: Ryan Khoury

Ryan Khoury feels like a kid stealing candy. Boston's 12th-round pick in the 2006 draft, Khoury was promoted from short-season Lowell to Triple-A Pawtucket on Aug. 3, to help fill a need in the PawSox infield when Enrique Wilson retired. To the surprise of many, the former walk-on at the University of Utah is still there.
A righthanded-hitting shortstop, the 22-year-old Khoury was named the 2006 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year after hitting .438 as a senior, third-best in Division I. Since signing with the Red Sox, the native of West Jordan, Utah, has hit .246-0-15 at Lowell and is 3-for-21 in nine games for Pawtucket. The youngest player on the PawSox roster, Khoury is the first player from his draft-class to see action in Triple-A.
Baseball America: How did you find out that you were going up to Pawtucket, and what was your reaction when they told you?
Ryan Khoury: I was in the clubhouse getting ready for BP one day, and Crabby (Lowell manager Bruce Crabbe) said he needed to see me. When we got to his office, he said, "Pack your bags, you're going to Pawtucket." I said, "Are you serious?" I thought he might be kidding. But he said that he wasn't, and that I had 20 minutes to get ready. I guess I was shocked and excited as much as anything.
BA: What is the biggest difference between short-season and Triple-A?
RK: I'd say it's the mental toughness of the players. They're better physically, too--they're more talented--but what separates them most is how they know and study the game. They have the ability not only to deal with failure, but to learn from it.   
BA: When you think about where you are right now, do you feel like a kid stealing candy?
RK: Yeah, I kind of feel like that. It’s obviously an opportunity not many guys in my situation get. I try to put it into perspective that a ton of guys in the minor leagues would like to be in my shoes right now. I feel blessed to be here.  
BA: You're playing with Dustin Pedroia in the middle of the PawSox infield. What is it like working with him, and do you see the two of you as being similar players?
RK: It's really nice working with Dustin. He's a great player, and a real pro the way he goes about the game. He's been in the system for a few years, so he's a good guy to look up to and learn from. We're similar in that we don’t have the biggest size, but we're scrappy and do whatever we can to get on base. We try to maximize our talent.
BA: You started a 6-4-3 double play on the first ball hit to you in Triple-A. How important was that for you mentally?
RK: That was actually the second ball hit to me. The first was a few days earlier, when I came in at second base late in the game when someone got thrown out. I was only in for an inning or two, but I started a 4-6-3 double play. But yeah, it was big mentally, because there were a few nerves and you want to get that first chance out of the way. That said, it's still the same game, and I've had that ball hit to me a thousand times before in college and low-A. The only difference is that someone else is hitting it, and I’m in a different stadium.
BA: Some people have questioned whether you'll stay at shortstop in pro ball. What are your thoughts on that?
RK: I've always been a shortstop, and I look at that as my position. I have taken balls at second base, though, and have gotten into a few games there. Thinking of it as a middle infield position, I'm sure I could make the transition if that's what the team wanted.
BA: Your father played college ball at Utah, and your grandfather made it as far as Triple-A, with the Salt Lake Bees. In which ways have they impacted your career?
RK: I'd say the biggest advantage is that my dad is a baseball guy. He's always been my coach, and he understands the ups and downs of the game. My grandfather never really talked to me about things like fundamentals. What he did is preach respect for the game. He loved baseball, and he passed that down to my dad and uncles, and from there it was passed on to me. They taught me that if you respect the game and play hard, the game will give back to you.  
BA: If Ron Johnson, the Pawtucket manager, calls you into his office tomorrow and tells you that you're going back to Lowell to finish the season, what will you say to him?
RK: I'll thank him for the opportunity, and for everything he's done to help me as a player. And I'll probably say that I hope to see him again soon.