116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - His previous experience consisted of a couple of innings in high school. So Beau Brooks is trying to figure out this pitching thing on the fly at the professional level.
It's almost unfair.
“I'm giving this a shot,” the Cedar Rapids Kernels “pitcher” said after his team's 8-1 loss to Peoria before 1,018 fans Sunday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium. “I think I can do it. I'm game, man.”
You might remember Brooks from his days as a catcher for the Kernels in 2009. The 23-year-old Alabamian hit .248 in 97 games, but his hitting bottomed out severely last season.
Just before spring training, Brooks got a phone call from the parent Angels, not to release him, but to ask if he'd consider a position switch. He was all in.
“I've got a strong arm, I guess,” he said. “They thought I could be a strike thrower. I'm starting to show signs of that. I still walk my guys, but I'm showing signs of getting better.”
He got into one game at high-Class A Inland Empire before being sent May 10 to Cedar Rapids. Sunday was just his third appearance here, but it was a clean one, as he threw two shutout innings.
Brooks' delivery is kind of crude, as you'd expect. His fastball was consistently in the high-80s, with a changeup his only other pitch.
“I'll always have a soft spot for Beau,” said Kernels Manager Brent Del Chiaro. “My first year coaching was his first year with us. Today was good to see. I know the walks have kind of plagued him since he's started doing this. So for me, this was a positive outing. Something he can build on and learn from and hopefully continue as the season goes.”
“It hasn't been too bad just from catching and everything previously,” Brooks said. “All my closest friends (in the organization) are pitchers, so I've talked a lot with them. Pitching wasn't too new to me. Actually physically doing it was.”
He was asked if he missed hitting.
“I miss catching,” he said. “I don't miss hitting. Hitting was too hard.”
Contrast that to Peoria right fielder Anthony Giansanti, who had two home runs (including a grand slam) and six RBIs. Kernels starting pitcher Max Russell (4-4) has arguably been the best pitcher of late in the Midwest League but could not get out of the fifth.
“We need the offense to give us more support,” Del Chiaro said. “We need the offense to wake up. It's gotten to that point where enough is enough.”
The teams conclude their four-game series Monday afternoon at 2:05.