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Ian Kennedy

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Ian Patrick Kennedy (born December 19, 1984 in Huntington Beach, California) is a right-handed pitcher for the New York Yankees in Major League Baseball. He is 6' 0" tall, weighs 190 pounds, and is commonly known as "Ike" in the Yankee clubhouse.[1] He throws a fastball, knuckle-curve, slider, and changeup.[2]

High schoolEdit

Kennedy attended La Quinta High School in Westminster, California.[3] In his junior year, he was named CIF Division IV co-most valuable player and earned the Orange County Register and Garden Grove League most valuable player honors, when he recorded 13 wins and led the county with a 0.38 ERA (five earned runs in 90 2/3 innings) and strikeouts (168) while batting .373 with seven home runs and 31 RBI.[4] In his senior year, he earned All-CIF Division IV honors.

CollegeEdit

Kennedy went on to play college baseball for University of Southern California. In Kennedy's first year at USC, he went 7-2 in 16 games, with a 2.91 ERA and one save. He pitched 92 ⅔ innings, struck out 120, and walked 31. He also gave up 86 hits and allowed 34 runs, 30 of which were earned runs.

In his sophomore year, he went 12-3 in 18 games, with a 2.54 ERA and one complete game. He pitched 117 innings, struck out 158 (fourth best in team history), and walked 38. He also gave up 171 hits, and had 33 earned runs out of 40 runs allowed.

As a junior at USC he pitched in 16 games, 15 of them starts. He went 5-7 with 102 strikeouts and posted a 3.90 ERA. He pitched 101 ⅔ innings, walked 38, and gave up 44 earned runs. Entering his senior year, Kennedy was 24-12 in 50 games, pitching 311 ⅓ innings. He had a strikeout total of 380, an ERA of 3.12, and had walked a total of 107 batters.

In 2005 Kennedy made the USC single-season strikeout list, striking out 158 batters, fourth on the list, behind Mark Prior, Seth Etherton, and Walt Peterson. Kennedy has a 12.15 strikeouts per nine innings ratio, which is fifth best in his school's history. He was also selected for the U.S. National Team twice. Kennedy was named a first-team All-American after both his freshman and sophomore years, and was also named to the Preseason All-American first team in 2006 and the USA's Junior National Team in 2003. In 2005, he became the eighth pitcher in USC history to be named the Pac-10 Conference "Pitcher of the Year."

Playing careerEdit

Minor leaguesEdit

Kennedy was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft in the first round (21st overall) earning a $2.25 million signing bonus.[5] "I would like to go out and play," he said, "start my professional career. The earlier the better. I imagine it's not going to be very long before I start. At least that's what I'm hoping. If it does take a while, I'm ready for that -- but I want to go out and play."[citation needed] He consistently throws his fastball around 91- 92 MPH, he is known for his pitching finesse to retire hitters.[6]

Kennedy was previously drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 14th round (425th overall) of the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft, but he didn't sign with them. He joins Randy Johnson, Mark Prior, Tom Seaver, and Barry Zito on the list of pitchers drafted out of USC. [7]

Kennedy pitched 2.2 innings for the Staten Island Yankees of the New York-Penn League, a short-season class A league, in 2006. In 2007, he began the season with the A Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League, posting a 6-1 record with a 1.29 ERA in 63.0 innings, while striking out 72 and only walking 22. He was promoted to the AA Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League, where he posted a 5-1 record with a 2.59 ERA in 48.2 innings, while striking out 57 and only walking 17.

On July 24, 2007, Kennedy was promoted to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees. He has enjoyed success there, as well, posting a 1-1 record with a 2.08 ERA in six starts, striking out 34 and walking just 11 in 34.2 innings.

Major leaguesEdit

Kennedy made his major league debut with the New York Yankees on September 1, 2007 in place of Mike Mussina, with whom he is often compared.[8] He earned the win, allowing three runs (only one earned run) in seven innings, striking out six, walking two, and allowing five hits. Kennedy said before his first game:

"I didn’t want to be shellshocked. I wanted to act like I belong here. It’s a dream come true. You see the stadium on TV and you wish and hope you’ll be out there like those guys."[9]

On November 28, 2007 Kennedy was named the 26th best prospect by Minor League Baseball's official website.[10]

Despite having been replaced by Kennedy in the rotation in 2007, Mussina has become a mentor for Kennedy and other young pitchers on the Yankee roster even requesting that Kennedy and Phil Hughes receive lockers next to his during 2008 spring training.[11]

On May 4, 2008 Kennedy was demoted to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after a lackluster start to the 2008 season. Ian dominated in his first start back with AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre, tossing 7.1 innings of 1-hit ball while striking out eight.

On May 28, 2008, after enduring a strained right lat muscle, and being diagnosed with bursitis behind the scapular, Kennedy was placed on the DL, expected to miss at least 15 days. He returned to the AAA affiliate of the New York Yankees, struggling in his first few starts before going on a three game tear. From July 19 to July 29, Kennedy pitched 20 innings, allowing 7 hits which yielded 3 runs, while collecting 14 K's, and walking only 4. On July 24, Kennedy had another no-hitter broken up, after pitching a dominant 6 2/3 innings.

Personal lifeEdit

In October 2007, Kennedy married USC basketball player Allison Jaskowiak in a ceremony outside of St. Louis. None of his teammates on the Yankee playoff roster could attend the wedding as they were in the middle of the playoff series against the Cleveland Indians. Kennedy said of his wedding:

"I was thinking, what's more nerve-racking, pitching in the big leagues for the first time or getting married? It's a different emotion. I don't cry too much, but it was emotional."[12]

After the two were wed, Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy walked up the aisle to the song "Take Me Out to the Ballgame".[13]

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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