116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Breckin Williams was able to go on a mini-vacation with his wife and in-laws to Colorado a couple of weeks ago.
It was fun, the first time in forever he’d been able to do something like that in the summer. But at the same time, it was, as he put it, miserable.
“I want to play this game as long as I can, for as long as I feel like I’m a big-league baseball player,” said Williams, the winning pitcher Sunday for the Cedar Rapids Kernels as they shaded Peoria, 2-1, at Veterans Memorial Stadium to complete a six-game series sweep. “I firmly believe that in my heart. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe that.”
Williams was released June 26 by the Arizona Diamondbacks after being in their organization since signing with them as a fourth-round draft pick out of the University of Missouri in 2015. He’d dealt with injuries in his career, including hurting his hamstring this spring training.
That delayed the start of his 2021 season to mid-June. Not 100 percent, he threw twice for Double-A Amarillo, got lit up, and that was that.
“I think it all just came to fruition,” Williams said. “The Diamondbacks were moving in a different direction, and I wasn’t a part of that (direction). I understand it’s a business, and I wasn’t a part of their future. So it was best for both them and me to just move on.”
Thus, that mini-vacation. While on it, Williams’ agent gave him a call and told him the Minnesota Twins wanted to sign him.
He was assigned to the Kernels active roster last week. The 27-year-old right-hander has appeared in two games here, not giving up a run in two innings and picking up Sunday’s victory.
“I’ve gone through injury, I’ve gone through winning, got two championship rings with the Diamondbacks, lost playoff games, have done just about everything,” Williams said. “Getting released was new. It’s going to happen to all of us at some point. I really just see this as a second chance. I feel like a new person. The Twins have treated me already beyond what I probably deserve. I really appreciate that. I’m just excited to be here.”
A closer in college and at times as a pro, his fastball was consistently 92 miles per hour in his inning against Peoria, though he said there definitely is more velocity in his arm that will come out as he gets back into action. Melvi Acosta gave up a run in the ninth but stranded two runners to get the save.
The Kernels (34-26) scored two unearned runs in the fifth on a DaShawn Keirsey Jr. sacrifice fly and Alex Isola RBI single to pick up a sweep for the first time this High-A Central League season.
Cedar Rapids has Monday off, per usual, then begins a six-gamer Tuesday at South Bend.
“It’s tough to win six games in a series against a team,” said Kernels Manager Brian Dinkelman. “The boys did a really nice job this week. Offense, the pitching was outstanding. We played good defense today. So it was a good series, a good week.”
Though there has been no official announcement, Kernels pitchers Kody Funderburk and Jordan Gore were told postgame Sunday they are being promoted to Double-A Wichita.
Funderburk went 1-3 with a 3.18 earned run average in 11 games for the Kernels, including 10 starts. He gave up just 33 hits in 45 1/3 innings and struck out 59.
An infielder turned reliever, Gore’s debut as a pitcher this season has been a smashing success. He went 5-1 with a save and 2.95 ERA in 19 appearances for Cedar Rapids, allowing just 21 hits in 39 2/3 innings, striking out 58.
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