Friday, March 22, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Cedar Rapids Kernels Baseball

Baseball runs in Mauer family's blood

The games of "pickle" in the Mauer family's basement in St. Paul, Minn., got a little rough at times when Jake, Billy and Joe were kids.

They called it "hot box," where there's two fielders and one runner, and Joe - the youngest of the three boys - took a pounding at times.

"Yeah, Joe took the brunt of all that," Jake said with a smile Wednesday, remembering the good old days in the Mauer household.



Kernels will show Hawkeyes on video board

If you're caught between your love for the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Cedar Rapids Kernels, there's a way to watch both games Thursday night in the same location.

The Kernels will be showing Iowa's basketball game against Baylor for the NIT championship on the stadium's new 30-foot by 48-foot video board at the conclusion of the Kernels' home opener against Beloit.

The baseball game starts at 6:35 p.m. and the basketball game starts at 8 p.m., so the baseball game will still be in progress when the basketball game begins. However, the basketball game will be shown on some of the TVs on the concourse area from the beginning.

The concession stands will remain open through the end of the Iowa game.

It¹s also a Z 102.9 Thirsty Thursday, which means 12 ounce regular draft beer and 20 ounce bottled soda and water are $2 all night and through the NIT finals.


Kernels will go as far as pitching carries them

There is one common denominator when looking at a team's prospects no matter what the level of baseball.


Cedar Rapids Kernels Manager Jake Mauer assessed his club Tuesday. He talked about an exciting corps of youngsters led by center fielder Byron Buxton and a solid group of veterans. Then he got to the bottom-line.

"To be honest, it will be like anything," Mauer said from his Veterans Memorial Stadium office. "It will depend on how our pitchers do.

"If we keep the ball down and get the boys off the field, we should be as good as anybody."



Buxton draws comparison to Trout

When Byron Buxton was asked to compare his style of play to a current major leaguer, he immediately mentioned Atlanta Braves outfielder B.J. Upton.

Buxton's Cedar Rapids Kernels batting coach Tommy Watkins looked a little closer to home.

"Seeing Mike Trout a couple of years ago, (Buxton) reminds me of a Mike Trout type player," said Watkins, who was a coach at Beloit when Trout, last year's American League Rookie of the Year and runnerup in Most Valuable Player voting, patrolled center field for the Kernels in 2010.



Buxton coming to town with Kernels

The 25-man roster for the 2013 Cedar Rapids Kernels features six of the Twins' Top 30 Prospects, according to Baseball America, and includes 2012 first-round selection Byron Buxton, a talented outfielder with speed.

In addition to Buxton as the Twins' No.2 Top Prospect, the roster also includes lefthanded pitcher Mason Melotakis (No.13 top prospect), shortstop Jorge Polanco (No.14), third baseman Travis Harrison (No.17), righthanded pitcher Tyler Jones (No.23) and infielder Niko Goodrum (No.26).

The Kernels' pitching staff features four hurlers who spent the whole 2012 season in the Midwest League at Beloit (Tim Atherton, Steven Gruver, David Hurlbut and Tyler Jones), plus three others (Melotakis, Taylor Rogers and Matt Tomshaw) who spent at least part of 2012 with the Snappers when Beloit was affiliated with Minnesota.



Twins stocked with talented young pitchers

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Last in a series of preseason looks at the Cedar Rapids Kernels)

It’s no secret that the Minnesota Twins have issues these days with regard to their pitching, but there is hope for the future and some of that future could be on display in Cedar Rapids this summer.

One of the challenges in projecting starting pitching vs. bullpen pitching is that, at the Class A level, organizations tend to ask many of their pitchers to spend time in both roles. Nobody really knows with certainty which pitchers have a Major League future as a starter and which will eventually find a role in the bullpen.

In addition, the Twins will want to limit the number of innings many of their pitching prospects put on their arms during each minor league season. One way to accomplish that is to have even those pitchers clearly earmarked for rotation roles spend a chunk of their minor league seasons in the bullpen.



'Meet the Kernels' night is Wednesday

The Cedar Rapids Kernels will host their annual "Meet the Kernels" on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

There is no admission charge. Food and beverage will be available for purchase.

The Kernels' Bimm Ridder Diamond Shop will be open, as will the Kernels Kids Zone fun area.



Kernels 'ready to roll' on Opening Day

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second of two articles by Kernels broadcaster Morgan Hawks from spring training in Florida.)

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It’s decision time regarding the 2013 Cedar Rapids Kernels roster.

Twins minor league managers and coaches, along with Twins minor league director Brad Steil, will make the tough decisions on who to send to which affiliate, including which players are on Tuesday’s flight to Cedar Rapids.

“The teams are starting to take shape,” said Kernels Manager Jake Mauer. “I think we have about four to five spots we’ve got to make decisions on. However, for the most part we’re pretty much ready.”

Looking at Wednesday’s lineup against the Boston Red Sox Class-A affiliate, it appears the Kernels could have a mix of youngsters and a few players with Midwest League experience.



Mauer says Kernels roster is nearly set

With a week remaining before the Cedar Rapids Kernels take the field for the first time in 2013, a few roster spots are yet to be finalized during the final days of the team's spring training in Fort Myers, Fla.

“We're getting close,” Kernels Manager Jake Mauer said Wednesday. “There are probably three or four decisions left to make. A couple of pitchers and a couple of position players.

“Our position players are in good shape. It looks like we should have good team speed,” Mauer said.

Mauer indicated that Byron Buxton, the Twins' first-round draft pick in last June's amateur draft (and second pick overall), will be the club's center fielder. He will be joined in the outfield by two other highly rated Twins prospects, Adam Walker and Romy Jimenez.

Max Kepler, another top prospect, is likely to remain in Fort Myers for a while. “He has some arm issues to work through” before he will join the Kernels, Mauer explained. “There's still some competition for the fourth outfield spot, but competition always is a good thing,” Mauer said.



Kernels outfield could be loaded in 2013

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of preseason articles about the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Next: Pitchers)

We’ve worked our way around the horn in the first three parts of this series, covering many of the catchers, corner infielders and middle infielders who possibly could put on a Kernels uniform in Cedar Rapids this summer.

In Part 4 of our series, we are checking out a number of outfielders who could take the field for Cedar Rapids at some point during 2013.

Obviously, we can’t know exactly who will come north to Iowa out of spring training to start the season, but regardless of which of these prospects starts the season in Cedar Rapids, the Kernels' outfield could be loaded.

A number of the organization’s top prospects played at Elizabethton in 2012, and many of them should start the season in Cedar Rapids.



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