Kernels pitcher Cederoth starting his comeback

'Personal illness' has kept Twins prospect inactive over 2 months

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CEDAR RAPIDS – Michael Cederoth went through a pregame workout late Wednesday afternoon in the weight-room area at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Normally that’d be non-news because Cedar Rapids Kernels players do that all the time. But in this case, it was big.

No, it was huge. Cederoth hasn’t pitched since June 4 and has had little physical activity since going on the disabled list two days later.

“I’m just now getting my body back into shape to perform at the best of my ability,” Cederoth said, before his team’s 4-2 win over Kane County. “That’s where we’re at right now. Pitching is secondary. It’s just getting back into the stages that’s my top concern right now.”

The official listed reason for Cederoth’s elongated DL stint is “undisclosed injury,” but the 22-year-old — a third-round draft pick of the parent Minnesota Twins last year — said he has been dealing with an illness. He prefers not to go into detail about it.

“Just a personal illness I’ve had over the years,” he said. “I want to keep that to myself. But now it’s completely taken care of. It’s taken care of, and there shouldn’t be a problem anymore. It’s something I’ve dealt with throughout my life. It was more than baseball. I’ve dealt with it, and now that it’s taken care of, I can get back to work.”

Cederoth has a 1-4 record and 4.08 earned run average in 11 appearances this season, including six starts. He has allowed less hits (33) than innings pitched (35.1) and struck out more than a batter per inning (37).

He was a closer at San Diego State because of sketchy control of a fastball in the mid to upper-90s, though, with that big of an arm, the Twins want to see if can start. He won’t pitch the rest of this season, obviously, and doesn’t know if Minnesota will have him go to fall instructional league to get more innings.

He was asked if he felt this was a wasted year of development.

“You could say that, but I don’t really look at it that way,” he said.

The Kernels (69-52, 28-23) broke a four-game losing streak thanks to three third-inning runs. Two of them shouldn’t have scored, as Kane County (73-46, 37-14) botched a sure double-play ball with the bases loaded, a low throw from second baseman Ildemaro Vargas eluded the first baseman scoring a pair.

Rafael Valera walked three times, had a single and scored twice for Cedar Rapids. Starting pitcher Felix Jorge (6-5) threw seven strong innings for the victory.

He’ll probably be the opening-game playoff starter against Quad Cities in three weeks.

Newcomer Nick Anderson pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save in four appearances. The teams conclude their three-game series Thursday night at 6:35, with it being Iowa Hawkeye Night.

The Kernels will wear special black-and-gold Iowa-esque jerseys that will be auctioned.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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