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Minor League Sports

Despite tough-luck loss, a healthy Rickey Ramirez continues to shine for Cedar Rapids Kernels

Rickey Ramirez, 19, for the Kernels pitches to the Lake County Captains at the top of the seventh inning at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Sunday, July 15, 2018. (Hannah Schroeder/The Gazette)
Rickey Ramirez, 19, for the Kernels pitches to the Lake County Captains at the top of the seventh inning at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Sunday, July 15, 2018. (Hannah Schroeder/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — His back hurt, he had zero energy, was basically bed ridden for 10 days.

Rickey Ramirez never did get a diagnosis on whatever it was that hit him the last week of May. All he knows is it kept him out of action for a month and set back his 2019 season.

“I feel fine now, and that’s all that matters,” the Cedar Rapids Kernels relief pitcher said, after taking a tough-luck 4-3 loss Monday night to Beloit at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Ramirez has been great since joining the Kernels in mid-July. He has four saves and an earned run average of exactly 1.00 in 10 appearances.

He was the victim of a bloop single, a hit-and-run single through a vacated shortstop hole and a fielder’s choice RBI grounder in the top of the ninth. That latter ball that was hit so slowly it couldn’t be turned into an inning-ending double play.

“That’s just part of it,” he said.

The 22-year-old right-hander from Fresno State was kept back in extended spring training by the Minnesota Twins the first month of this season, then got an opportunity with high-Class A Fort Myers in early May. He was with the Miracle for about three weeks but didn’t pitch that final week when he caught whatever bug he caught.

“Still don’t know what it was,” he said. “I could have just caught a virus or something. Under the weather. Just kind of led to me being out for a week. Didn’t feel like a sickness or anything. It was more so fatigue. My legs just weren’t under me.”

After not pitching for about 10 days, Ramirez had to start the process all over again. He finally got back on the mound in late June with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Twins, then got in two more games with Fort Myers before finally coming to Cedar Rapids.

He pitched 14 games last season for the Kernels.

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“I’ve been up and down, but it has definitely been a good experience,” Ramirez said. “I was happy that when I did go up (to high-A) that I did perform. The numbers might say differently, but I did what I was supposed to do.”

Ramirez went a season-long three innings here, allowing just the two scratch hits. Cedar Rapids (69-52, 29-21) rallied to tie things with three runs in the eighth, including a tying two-run homer by Gabe Snyder.

The Midwest League has Tuesday off, then the Kernels hit the road for a week and a half.

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

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