Kennedy Refining Both Mentality and Command

Kennedy has a 1.33 ERA in his last four starts

A rough start and a lat injury blemished Ian Kennedy's 2008 season, but after working back from the injury and recapturing his command, Kennedy is ready to give the Yankees a much needed rotation boost. The right-hander's last three starts for Triple-A Scranton have been outstanding, and he's finally proved to the Yankees that he's ready to return to the majors.

"Right now, I feel really good," he said. "When I was coming back, I had to wait long enough to make sure nothing was wrong, but everything feels great now and I've had time to work on things."

Kennedy injured his right lat in May and has spent extra time in Scranton preparing for his next stop: New York.

His first three starts in July where somewhat underwhelming, but since his July 19th start against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, he's been truly dominating.

"When you come back from an injury, you know things are going to get a little better but it takes time. I feel really good now, maybe even stronger than before.

"During my first two starts in Triple-A, I was trying to work things out and apply them on the field. Things were going okay, but for some reason one start just clicked and everything fell into place."

In his last four starts, Kennedy has posted an impressive 1.33 ERA in 27 innings, while striking out 20 and walking six.

According to Kennedy, both his velocity and movement feel fine, but he went on to say that they probably feel better than at the start of the season.

"I think it all comes down to fastball command," he said. "I feel like my command has gotten even better than it was in the beginning."

"I still want to make my curveball more consistent though. It's there, but sometimes it's not, but that's why I have three other pitches. I just want to keep doing what I'm doing, which is not getting mad if I give up a run. I just have to throw it away and move on. I think everything is going in the right direction right now."

Sometimes, it takes more than a revamped fastball and better breaking stuff to truly improve as a pitcher, but the right-hander has learned how to deal with both injury and failure.

"The key is to have a short memory," Kennedy said with a smile.

"You have to throw it all away and focus on the next outing and not over-think things. You have to be really positive. You work on things, but if you focus on the positive everything will be alright."

And everything will be alright. According to media sources, the Yankees plan on recalling Kennedy in time for the weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels, and he'll start in place of the injured Joba Chamberlain.

When asked if he was excited about potentially rejoining the Yankees, Kennedy explained that he tries not to think about it because he does not want to break his focus.

"I just want to take each day one day at a time, whatever they decide they decide is fine, but I'll be ready," Kennedy added.

When Ian Kennedy was first demoted this season, he tossed a one-hitter in first Triple-A start and joked about making the Yankees look stupid after the game.

Now, three months later Kennedy seems to be a different pitcher. He's worked hard to improve his game, and he's gained valuable insight about the struggles of professional athletes.

Through the injury and rehab, Kennedy was able to become more than just a better pitcher, but also a more experienced player.

"I know that I would not trade this year for anything because it helped me learn so much like how to deal with failure and how to overcome struggles," he said. "Not to mention how to deal with an injury."

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