Cedar Rapids, IA - The Cedar Rapids Kernels, in conjunction with the Minnesota Twins, announce that Toby Gardenire, Brian Dinkelman, Cibney Bello and Justin Willard will be the Kernels Field Staff for the 2018 season.
Toby Gardenhire takes over as the Kernels manager for 2018 after being the hitting coach for the GCL Twins in 2017. This is his second season in the Twins organization after joining the Twins from the University of Wisconsin - Stout where he was the head baseball coach from 2012 until 2016. He played seven seasons in the Twins minor league system after being drafted in the 41st round of the 2005 First Year Player Draft out of the University of Illinois. In seven seasons, he posted a career .232 batting average with six home runs and 134 RBI. He is the son of former Twins manager and current Tigers' manager, Ron Gardenhire.
Brian Dinkelman begins his third season as the Kernels hitting coach. He previously served as the hitting coach for the GCL Twins in 2015. Dinkelman was selected by the Twins in the eighth round of the 2006 First Year Player Draft out of McKendree University in Lebanon, IL. He played eight seasons in the Twins organization from 2006-2013, including 23 Major League games in 2011, where he hit .301 (22-73) with a double and four RBI. Dinkelman played in the Midwest League for Beloit in 2007, batting .283 with seven HR and 21 RBI in 67 games. He currently resides in Cedar Rapids, IA.
Cibney Bello will be one of two pitching coaches for the Kernels in 2018. He is in his third season as a coach in the Twins organization and was the pitching coach for the GCL Twins in 2017. Prior to joining the Twins, he spent two seasons as the pitching coach for Clinton. He is a native of La Guaira, Venezuela and was signed as a non-drafted free agent by Seattle in 2000. He spent five seasons in the Mariners system, posting a career 21-26 record and 5.18 ERA in 121 games (61 starts) with two saves.
Justin Willard is the other Kernels pitching coach for 2018. This is his first season in the Twins organization as a coach. Prior to joining the Twins, he was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Radford University in Virginia. He played his college baseball at Concord Univeristy in Athens, West Virginia where he also served as a graduate assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
Davey LaCroix will be the Kernels athletic trainer for 2018, after spending last season at Elizabethton. And Phil Hartt returns as the Kernels Strength and Conditioning Coach.
The Kernels begin the 2018 Midwest League season at Quad Cities on Thursday, April 6th. The 2018 home opener is set for Saturday, April 8th at 5:05 PM against Quad Cities.
2018 Season Ticket Packages, Coupon Books and Gift Certificates are on sale now by calling the Kernels at (319) 363-3887 or online at www.kernels.com. Office hours are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Individual game tickets go on sale Monday, March 19th at 10 AM.
The Kernels are also taking reservations for their Group Outing Areas. For more information, contact Andrea Brommelkamp at 896-7603 or by email at Andrea@kernels.com. A full listing of all group outing areas is available online at www.kernels.com.