C.R.'s Christensen part of Kernels' opening-day roster

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April 1, 2014 | 10:19 am

CEDAR RAPIDS - Here's one less guy longtime housing coordinator Lanny Peterson will have to worry about this season.

Chad Christensen already has found a place to live while he plays for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. It's a familiar place with a familiar bedroom.

He'll bunk at home with his mom and younger brother.

"I hope she doesn't charge me too much rent," Christensen said.

The 23-year-old Cedar Rapids Washington grad is listed as an outfielder on the 25-man opening-day Kernels roster, released Saturday afternoon. He said he'll actually be a utility guy, one that can play the outfield, as well as first and third base.

Christensen signed with the parent Minnesota Twins as a 25th-round pick in last June's draft after a four-year career at the University of Nebraska. He played 47 games for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Twins, hitting .235.

"That was my goal," he said of breaking with the Kernels. "I thought there would be a chance for me to do that. I worked as hard as I could in the offseason, made some improvements. In spring training, I felt like I did everything I could do. I'm excited."

Manager Jake Mauer informed Christensen early Saturday morning he was breaking camp with his club. The team is scheduled to arrive in Cedar Rapids early Monday afternoon.

The season opener is Thursday night at 6:35 at home against Clinton.

Christensen is the first former Metro prep to play pro ball in Cedar Rapids since catcher Alex Dvorsky of Marion and the University of Northern Iowa in 2003. Prior to that, outfielder Kean Rich of Washington played for the Cedar Rapids Giants in 1978 and 1979.

"I think I'll end up playing a lot of positions," he said. "Whatever is needed, I'll do. Whatever helps the team and gets me in the lineup."

Ten players who spent at least part of last season with the Kernels return to begin the 2014 season. That includes catchers Bo Altobelli and Michael Quesada, infielder Joel Licon and outfielder Jeremias Pineda.

Pitchers Alex Muren, Josue Montanez, Christian Powell, Miguel Sulbaran, Hudson Boyd and Brandon Bixler also are back. Pitching should be a definite strength of the club, with 2013 first-round draft pick Kohl Stewart (third overall) the most visible guy on the staff.

Felix Jorge, Yorman Landa and Randy Rosario also are considered legitimate prospects. Other 2013 draft picks on the staff are Ryan Eades (second round/LSU) and 6-foot-10 Aaron Slegers (fifth round/Indiana).

Here is the entire roster:

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