Minor League Sports

Canadian pitcher Jordan Balazovic continues progression with Cedar Rapids Kernels

Gets the win Thursday night over Beloit, 8-2

CEDAR RAPIDS — Interestingly enough, it was 15 degrees warmer Thursday night in Jordan Balazovic’s hometown in Canada than it was in Cedar Rapids.

“I hate the cold,” the Cedar Rapids Kernels pitcher said, after he picked up an 8-2 win over Beloit.

Which is significantly ironic since Balazovic is from Mississauga, Ontario, where it was 62 degrees about the time he got done with his five innings of work. It was a windy 47 at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Cold weather seems to follow the kid around.

“I’ve always hated it,” Balazovic said. “I mean, you get used to it when you’re on the mound. But when you are in the dugout not doing anything, it really gets cold, man.”

The 21-year-old right-hander is from hockey territory, but he’s got what appears to be a promising future in baseball. He showed well in about a half-season of work for the Kernels last season, and moved to 2-1 in three starts so far this spring.

He didn’t quite match the strikeout totals of his first two outings (nine), but came close with eight. This on a night when he said he didn’t feel particularly good.

“Honestly, the ball didn’t feel great coming out of my hand,” he said. “Especially early on in the game. I would say in the third of fourth inning, I started feeling more comfortable. Then in the fifth inning, I got behind hitters and just couldn’t hit my spots. So, overall, there were some positives out of it. I got my changeup working today, which I was happy about. Other than that, I’ve got a lot to work on.”

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Balazovic was a fifth-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2016. His fastball normally runs around the mid-90s, though he was 89-92 here.

He has worked hard on his offspeed stuff, with his changeup coming along and his breaking ball getting there, too.

“I thought I had a chance to break (spring training) with (high-A) Fort Myers,” Balazovic said. “But, at the same time, I’m still young and still have a lot of developing to do. It’s good. I can work on my pitches here, and, hopefully, get called up sooner or later.”

The Kernels (6-8) took 13 bases on balls to literally walk away with this game. Catcher David Banuelos, fresh off the injured list, had a two-run triple in a four-run first inning for C.R.

The teams play again Friday night at 6:35, as the Kernels’ 12-game homestand chugs along near the end. It’ll conclude with another encounter Saturday afternoon against Beloit.

To make room for Banuelos on the active roster, the Kernels announced outfielder DaShawn Keirsey Jr. has been placed on the seven-day IL with a hip flexor injury.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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