Kainer, recovering from transplant, eyes spot with Dragons
The Reds want to see him get acclimated to his new kidney first.
By Marc Katz
Thursday, March 29, 2007
BRADENTON, Fla. — Even though he has been working with the Dayton group, outfielder Carson Kainer expects to be left behind when the parent Reds break their minor-league camp Sunday.
Kainer may become a Class A Midwest League Dragon this summer, but first the Reds want him to get even more acclimated to his new kidney — transplanted from his father, Ron — last Sept. 12.
"I feel great," said Kainer, after playing in a Class A game at the Pittsburgh Pirates minor-league complex Wednesday. "I consider myself to be very blessed. I've never had any restrictions in my life, even though I've had kidney problems. I've never been on dialysis or had to take steroids. I've led a normal life.
"I got a hit today and slid into second base head first with no problems."
When he was two growing up in suburban Houston, Texas, Kainer's kidney problems were discovered. He had a staph infection in his right kidney, and his left kidney was about a third of normal size. An operation at age 6 helped some, but his family was told at some point, he'd need a transplant, probably by the time he got to high school.
It took longer than that, and Kainer said he lived a normal life. The only sports he was advised against were football and ice hockey. He became a standout baseball player at the University of Texas, hitting .364 with 25 doubles and 66 RBIs as a junior last year when the Reds drafted him in the 14th round.
"I would get tired late in games, especially with the (hot) weather we'd have in Texas," Kainer said, "but that had been the case all my life."
He was about to sign with the Reds when his doctor told him he should have a checkup. It was decided he needed a transplant.
"I called the Reds and told them I didn't want to sign until everything was done," Kainer said. "I didn't want them to take a shot in the dark. Three weeks after surgery, I was fine and I called. They still wanted me and gave me the same offer.
"This is a great chance for me. It's what I want to be doing."
Manager Donnie Scott is hoping to get his roster as early as today. "It doesn't make that much difference, but I'd like my guys to get to know me and my style," Scott said. "As for knowing how we're going to play, we've got the same system throughout the organization. The guys will adjust real quick. It will be, 'Do what I tell you.'"