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CEDAR RAPIDS — Fort Myers, Fla., is nice this time of year. The weather is warm but not ghastly hot and humid.
Just about perfect, unless you are a group of Minnesota Twins minor leaguers. Then it’s just a tad north of hell.
No one wants to be in extended spring training. No one.
“I was trying to get it into my head that I might be there until July,” Cedar Rapids Kernels relief pitcher Domenick Carlini said Saturday night, after his team’s rain-shortened 6-0 loss to Wisconsin at Veterans Memorial Stadium. “Just so every week, I’m not like ‘Aw, I’m still (here).’ So I can at least look forward to something.”
Carlini was not assigned to a Twins minor-league club after spring training ended earlier this month. He was kept back with a bunch of other guys, working out and playing games that don’t officially count.
He got a reprieve a couple of days ago by being sent to Cedar Rapids, replacing fellow southpaw Brady Anderson, who was promoted to the high-Class A Fort Myers Miracle. Those particular Twins minor leaguers don’t mind being where they’re at.
“I was so surprised, it was such a relief,” Carlini said. “It’s just good to be on a team. We’re playing for something, a little more unity. Down there, everybody is like ‘I gotta get out of here. You’re kind of playing for yourselves.’ Here, don’t get me wrong, the minor leagues are kind of about playing for yourself. But at the same time, we’re a team, we’ve got a locker room, we’ve got managers and stuff. It’s great. That’s the kind of baseball I like. Actual baseball, and not showcase baseball.”
Carlini’s first Kernels appearance was a good one. He relieved starter Alex Schick (1-1) in the fourth and successfully finished out a game that ended after five and a half innings by severe weather.
His final line: 2 2/3 innings, one hit, one walk, two strikeouts and no runs. A successful debut.
The Kernels dropped to 5-5, managing just two hits in five innings against Wisconsin starter Braden Webb (1-1). Schick gave up a run in the first and was knocked out after allowing five consecutive extra-base hits in a five-run fourth.
The Midwest League has Easter Sunday off, with Cedar Rapids beginning a three-game series Monday at Peoria. The next home game is Thursday against Kane County.
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