There exists a chasm between Yankees fans when discussing Ian Patrick Kennedy. There are those who saw his performance — and attitude — last year and took it as a sign that he’s finished in the Bronx. He doesn’t have what it takes, both physically and mentally, and the Yanks should trade him for whatever they can get. Then there are those of us (and I say us because I clearly fall into this camp) who think that he still has the potential to help the Yankees in the future. We base this on his potential, which really hasn’t changed, and the knowledge that some pitchers get shelled early in their careers.
This year is quite different for the former USC star, and he knows it. The biggest difference, of course, is his presumed spot on the team.
“I came to spring training thinking I had that job,” he said. “I was more content, where this spring training I’m hungry to beat out anybody I can. It’s go-time. It’s a little different.”
Mark Feinsand gave Kennedy a positive review on his first start of the spring — one hit, one walk, three strikeouts, and no runs in two innings. He might get one more opportunity to start a game before the real starting five take over the games. Then he’ll probably head across the street to minor league camp so he can get the proper work in.
None of this changes the fact that Kennedy has plenty to prove once the games count in 09. It is a positive sign, though, and we’ve been looking for anything positive from Kennedy since last season. The best case scenario for him is to pitch the entire season in AAA and get some major league innings in September. Some success there could put him in the conversation for a 2010 rotation spot, or make him a valuable trade chip for the Yanks.