CEDAR RAPIDS — You worry about your future in the game of baseball when you’re in the minor leagues. Constantly.
It can’t consume you, because if it does, you’ll surely fail. But it’s always there in the back of your mind.
This time of year, you add another concern if you are a player. That’s if your organization is in the playoff hunt.
Which the Minnesota Twins, parent club of the Cedar Rapids Kernels, certainly are. The Twins lead the American League Central division and are on the prowl for pitching help, especially in the bullpen.
They’ll almost definitely trade prospects for that help. The Major League Baseball trading deadline is Wednesday.
Guys in every clubhouse up and down the Twins farm system might just be thinking to themselves “Am I staying? Or am I going?”
“Yeah, maybe a little bit here and there, because you never know what’s going to happen,” said Kernels Manager Brian Dinkelman, after his team’s 9-7 loss Monday afternoon to Clinton. “You’ve still got to go out and play, though. Then whatever happens, happens. Hopefully it doesn’t affect your mental state too much. Where you’re thinking about that instead of playing the game. I haven’t heard anybody in here say anything about it.”
Let’s stress that it’s quite possible the Kernels (59-47, 20-16) won’t lose anyone in a deal. But, as Dinkelman said, you never know what’s going to happen.
For the record, scouts from the Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants were at Veterans Memorial Stadium to observe this game. The Jays, in particular, are considered sellers in the trade market.
“That’s what they are here for,” shrugged Dinkelman, referring to scouts. “To see the players.”
Clinton ran to a 6-1 lead after three innings and was ahead by an 8-1 margin going to the bottom of the seventh. Cedar Rapids did make a spirited run late, scoring twice in the seventh, three times in the eighth and once in the ninth.
The Kernels even had the tying runs on base in the ninth, and the winning run at the plate with two outs. Wander Javier did hit the ball hard, but ended up lining to center.
Cedar Rapids hits the road for a series at Beloit that begins Tuesday, returning home Saturday night to host Burlington.
“We battled, had good at-bats late,” Dinkelman said. “We gave ourselves a chance with the winning run at the plate in the ninth inning. That’s all you can ask for. The boys battled hard there the last couple innings.”
Trevor Casanova went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs for the Kernels. Each team had three errors, which led to a total of eight unearned runs in the game.
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