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Virus throws a curve at MLB, Davis’ Kreidler

Just when it was getting good, the game was called on Ryan Kreidler.

The former Davis High and UCLA baseball standout had gone 2 for 5 in a seven-game stint with the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla. Kreidler was coming off a grand slam against the Yankees and getting a handle on how veterans like Miguel Cabrera and Cameron Maybin went about their business.

But then came word on March 13: Major League Baseball was suspending Spring Training. Everybody was ordered home. COVID-19 had just thrown the nastiest curve in the game’s history.

Kreidler has been back home in Davis for a week. He says it feels like the holidays, having his folks Colleen and Mark around, chatting with friends from afar and sleeping in his own bed. Kreidler hopes he’ll see his San Diego-based brother Patric before heading back to work. But, as it is for everyone, there is a surreal feeling about the sudden serenity.

365体育投注“It is safer to be at home than it is to be (in Florida training together),” Kreidler told The Enterprise in a telephone interview. “MLB was taking precautions. It was kind of sad. Although I’d been there a month, there were guys who just got to Spring Training. It’s been a whirlwind for everybody.”

365体育投注Kreidler says he doesn’t know when he’ll hear “Play ball!” again, but says he checks in with the Tigers almost daily. He’s keeping up with conditioning — running, throwing some and trying to find facilities where he might be able to get a few swings in. But it’s been difficult …

365体育投注“I’m asking people for favors and trying to stay ready because (baseball) now is a job for me,” says the slick-fielding third baseman. “Whenever they call me back there, I have to be ready to go, trying to stay on top of physical shape and my baseball-skill work.”

Kreidler was an outstanding student-athlete at Davis High, playing basketball and baseball. He once hit .438 for the Blue Devils and turned his back on being drafted out of Davis by the Chicago Cubs, opting instead to play for UCLA. His contributions during his three years there helped the Bruins achieve the nation’s No. 1 ranking on several occasions.

Kreidler was taken after his junior year by the Tigers in the fourth round of the 2019 MLB Amateur Draft last June.

A season at Connecticut of the single-A New York-Penn League saw him hit .232 in 60 games for the baby bengals. But accounting for 48 runs in those games drew attention to Kreidler from the big-league franchise. Hence, the call-up this spring.

365体育投注“It’s been a really good experience being around some of these veterans,” Kreidler says. “It’s pretty eye-opening to see how those guys go to work, how they attack the game.

“For me, I feel I’ve already learned a lot. I feel like my off-season went pretty well. I was able to bring some of that into (Spring Training). It’s been fun.”

Loads365体育投注 of fun, apparently. On March 1, with the scored tied 4-4 in the seventh inning, Kreidler blasted a grand slam to put the Tigers safely ahead of the Yankees. The circuit clout, off New York reliever Kaleb Ort, also drove in outfielder Derek Hill — an Elk Grove High graduate against whom Kreidler and his Blue Devils played many important prep games.

365体育投注#Tigers 2019 draft pick Ryan Kreidler was called up from minor-league camp for today’s game.

He took advantage in grand fashion.

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“It was a cool moment,” the 22-year-old emerging slugger remembers. “Although it’s just Spring Training, I thought I competed really well against some of those big-leaguers.

“For me, it was a moment where I realized I can do it. I’m ready to go up there and compete against the best.”

365体育投注So how have a half-season at Connecticut and a couple of summers playing in collegiate wooden-bat leagues helped Kreidler prepare for The Show?

“Connecticut, last year, was a good experience,” he says. “I wouldn’t say I played very well, but it was an adjustment period, for sure.”

Going from a college season straight into pro ball “definitely takes a toll on your body.”

Kreidler says he has learned from the different levels of play, dealing with the long bus trips, sleeping in uncomfortable beds, on occasion eating poorly.

“You learn, too, from your failures and you learn from your successes,” he believes, adding that he’s still chipping away at all the new challenges and how to adjust long-term.

365体育投注But if Kreidler keeps playing like he has been, those buses will turn into chartered jets and those lumpy mattresses will give way to turned-down beds with mints on the pillow.

— Reach sports editor Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or call 530-320-4456.

CalMatters


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