116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Boss in town doesn't help Kernels in loss to Clinton
CEDAR RAPIDS - They've had their share of injuries and roster movement, but Abe Flores doesn't want to hear much about them. The Los Angeles Angels farm director expects the Cedar Rapids Kernels to be competitive.
“I wouldn't lend that to be an excuse for us,” Flores said. “Whatever unit we put out there, we have expectations ... Obviously, when you are missing components in the middle of the lineup, it does hurt. But we have no excuses. We know we have to get it done and get into the playoffs, period.”
Flores is in town for the second time this season to check out his organization's low-Class A club. The Kernels have lost 13 of 15 after last night's 7-1 loss to Clinton at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“The pendulum tends to swing both ways,” Flores said. “Every club at every level in every league goes through it.”
During this skid, Cedar Rapids has lagged on offense, with injury partly to blame. Leadoff hitter Drew Heid broke a bone in his foot a couple of weeks ago and is out indefinitely. First baseman Brandon Decker was expected to provide punch in the middle of the order but is trying to shake off rust from a month off due to injury.
Outfielder Randal Grichuk - a first-round draft pick in 2009 - was supposed to be a key component but is in Angels extended spring training due to multiple injuries. Grichuk missed significant time last season with injuries.
Flores said he expects him in Cedar Rapids in June, barring more setbacks.
“It's getting him back on the field, back in baseball shape,” Flores said. “He wants to get back as quickly as possible. It's frustrating for him.”
Flores was asked if it was frustrating for the Angels, too. Grichuk was taken a couple of picks ahead of Mike Trout in the first round in 2009. Trout is at Double-A Arkansas and considered the top prospect in baseball.
“I don't know about frustrating, but it's hard to develop him when he's hurt,” Flores said.
The teams play again today at noon.