C.R. Kernels' infielders dropping fast as team loses DH to Clinton
CEDAR RAPIDS — If you’re an infielder of any capability, you might want to give the Cedar Rapids Kernels a quick call. The number is in the phonebook.
Are there phonebooks anymore?
The Kernels played without second baseman Luis Arraez all of a miserable Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Their leading hitter stayed in the dugout for a double-header against Clinton, his right hand/wrist wrapped in a splint, protecting some swelling on the inside of his right wrist.
It’s quite a notch there, one that appeared to get bigger as the day progressed. He has a doctor’s appointment to get his wrist checked out Saturday afternoon.
Shortstop Nelson Molina took a groundball off his face in the middle of the second game and had to be helped off the field, woozy and bleeding. Speaking of woozy and bleeding, that’s what Cedar Rapids was after losses of 7-3 and 5-3.
The opener was the completion of a suspended game from Thursday night. Clinton extended its second-half lead in the Midwest League’s Western Division to three games on the Kernels.
Arraez, third in the MWL with a .334 batting average, grounded to short just before Thursday night’s game was stopped by rain in the bottom of the fourth inning. Manuel Guzman replaced him at second for Friday’s resume.
A two-run home run against relief pitcher Tom Hackimer (1-2) by Gus Craig broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth and put Clinton ahead for good. Molina hit his first home run of the season in that game but saw his luck turn horrible in the fourth inning of the nightcap.
Dalton Kelly hit a grounder toward the middle that Molina reached down and semi-dove for to his left. The ball glanced off his glove and directly into his face before deflecting into right-center field.
Molina kneeled on all fours as Kernels trainer Steve Taylor ran out to the field to tend to him. Blood appeared to be all over the field.
Arraez, ironically, aided him back to the dugout as a towel was held to his face.
Molina will get x-rays on his nose and face but told Kernels Manager Jake Mauer he would ready to play Saturday afternoon’s 5:05 game at home against Peoria. That probably won’t happen, but Molina does have his father in town from Puerto Rico to watch him play.
“He wants to play tomorrow,” Mauer said. “He said “I’m OK, I’m ready to go.”
Miles Nordgren (3-6) was the starter and loser in the nightcap in his return from high-Class A Fort Myers after a four-start stint. Alex Jackson, Seattle’s top draft pick in 2014, had a double and triple for Clinton (66-45, 27-14 second half).
The Kernels (60-50, 24-17) activated reliever Logan Lombana from the restricted list Friday. He began the season with Cedar Rapids but incurred an 80-game suspension from Major League Baseball for testing positive for a performance-enhangcing drug.
Cedar Rapids begins a four-game home series against the Peoria Chiefs on Saturday at 5:05 p.m.
The Midwest League announced Friday that Kernels first baseman Zander Wiel was its Player of the Month for July. He had 18 extra-base hits, eight home runs, 24 RBIs, 17 walks and 21 runs scored.
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