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Back in Iowa, Cedar Rapids Kernels pitcher Cade Povich begins 1st full pro season
Left-hander’s lone loss in 2021 was to the Iowa Hawkeyes
CEDAR RAPIDS — Cade Povich hates Iowa.
Before he contacts a lawyer for a possible libel suit, it’s needed to be stressed that’s not true. Not in the least.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels pitcher is enjoying his time here, especially likes that he’s not far away from his home in Bellevue, Neb.
“To be able to have family come ... the last start I had some friends come up,” Povich said. “I’ve had a few others reach out to me about making summer trips here. Obviously, it’s not like being in Nebraska, where it’s only a 45-minute drive (from home). But it’s definitely nice to be close to home and have people be able to come and watch me.”
Thus, let’s clarify that first sentence. He was an All-Big Ten Conference guy last college baseball season for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, one who posted a 3.11 earned run average and 6-1 record.
So close to an unblemished ledger. If it weren’t for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
“They were actually my only loss,” Povich said.
Does that make him mad?
“Yeah, a little bit,” he said with a smile.
The 22-year-old left hander is making his full-season professional debut after the parent Minnesota Twins selected him in the third round of the 2021 MLB Draft and signed him to a contract with a reported $500,000 bonus. Because of his heavy college workload, he threw only 10 innings at the end of the last minor-league season, all in Fort Myers, Fla., in Rookie ball and low-A.
Povich is taking a regular turn in the Kernels starting rotation and generally has been solid: a 3-2 record and 3.25 ERA. He threw 5 1/3 shutout innings to get the win in his last start, Thursday night against Lake County.
“He was good,” said Kernels Manager Brian Dinkelman. “Velo was up there early: 95, 96. Had that slider working well. They didn’t have much hard contact against him.”
“It’s been really fun,” Povich said. “Had a lot of fun, all the guys in the clubhouse are fun to be around. It’s always nice to have a really good team, and those first couple innings they put up some runs behind you. That always makes you pitch a little better.”
As Dinkelman indicated, Povich has touched the mid-90s with his fastball, though it’s mostly a low-90s offering. Also in his arsenal are a curveball, slider and changeup.
He’s an advanced college pitcher who most project as a back-end big league starter. He threw one year out of high school for South Mountain Community College in Arizona before heading to Nebraska for the COVID-shortened 2020 season, so there isn’t a ton of mileage on his arm.
Povich was asked if he set any goals in his rookie pro campaign.
“Yeah, I think always I have a certain goal or a mindset going into a start, or a week, or a season,” he said. “Just kind of track those as I go. I think it’s always important to have goals, so you can track where you want to be personally.”
Has he met his early-season goals?
“Right now, I’d say I’m kind of living up to want I want to do,” he said. “Just stay aggressive and battle and try and be the best pitcher I can.”
The Kernels took a 25-11 record into their home game Friday against Lake County. They were coming off that aforementioned 11-3 Thursday win, in which they hit five home runs, with some assistance from a strong wind blowing straight out.
Seth Gray’s three-run first-inning homer was not among the wind aided, as he cleared the center-field batter’s eye with a mammoth 463-foot blast. Not many over the years have hit a ball over the batter’s eye.
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