Kennedy Ready To Settle In With Diamondbacks
PHOENIX—While postseason participation may not be as certain with the Diamondbacks as with the Yankees, righthander Ian Kennedy's spot in the starting rotation is. It is a nice change.
"It's a lot different," said Kennedy, who will enter spring training as the Diamondbacks' No. 4 starter after being acquired from the Yankees in a three-team trade at the Winter Meetings. "You still have to earn your spot every spring, but it is a little more comforting to know that if you don't do well, you won't lose your job. It puts you a little more at ease."
Kennedy, 25, will join newcomer Edwin Jackson as rotation mainstays behind Brandon Webb and Dan Haren. Jackson also was obtained in the trade that sent Max Scherzer and lefthander Daniel Schlereth to the Tigers.
Kennedy was found to have an aneurysm near his right biceps and made only one major league start with the Yankees last season, and he is 1-4, 6.03 in 12 starts over parts of the last three seasons after making his major league debut on Sept. 1, 2007.
His minor league work, however, was exemplary, and the Diamondbacks see the 6-foot, 195-pound Kennedy as a pitcher ready to bloom. Kennedy was 19-6, 1.96 in 46 minor league appearances after being the 21st player taken in the 2006 draft out of Southern California.
"His calling card when he was in college was uncommon command and control," Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said. "He got to the big leagues with (Phil) Hughes and (Joba) Chamberlain and no (Johan) Santana, with a lot of expectations, and struggled and lost time due to injury. You stay with those types of guys."
Kennedy worked in the Arizona Fall League to develop a two-seam fastball to complement his four-seamer in the 88-93 mph range. He also throws a plus curveball, a changeup and a cut fastball in the mid-80s, "which is a real effective pitch for him," Byrnes said.
Arizona is likely to try to limit Kennedy to between 150 and 170 innings in 2010, Byrnes said.
• Righthander Doug Drabek, the 1990 NL Cy Young Award winner, will be the pitching coach at short-season Yakima this season, his first in the organization.
• Former major leaguer Gil Heredia, who spent time with Yakima last season, will be the pitching coach at Rookie-level Missoula. The changes occurred when Steve Merriman took a job with the major league scouting bureau.