Kennedy expects to be 'fired up' for first KC start

March 5th, 2016

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Ian Kennedy is a nine-year veteran who has been with three other teams and numerous spring camps, but even he admits with a smile that his first start for the Royals on Saturday will have a little extra meaning.

"It'll be exciting to actually start a game," Kennedy said. "I was talking to [Mike Moustakas] the other day and he joked, 'Have you even pitched for us yet? When are you going to pitch?' So yeah, it'll be nice to play a game instead of bullpens and simulated games.

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"Every year you look forward to your first Spring Training outing and just build up from there. I think I've had too many new experiences with other teams to put too much meaning into this. It'll just be two innings. But yeah, getting out there for the first time with these guys, I'm looking forward to that."

All pitchers are anxious to play in games at this point in camp, Kennedy said.

"It's the first time on the mound facing hitters wearing a different uniform," he said. "You get a little fired up. Then the rest of the outings you just go back into your groove.

"But yeah, that first Spring Training outing, you can get a little amped up. You're still competitors and you want to do well. But you know it's early. You'll be in situations where you're going to throw a breaking ball and normally you would throw it well, but because it's early you bounce it or you hang it.

"Those things you just have to be patient with."

So, with that little extra adrenaline, fans should expect to see Kennedy rip off a few 98-mph fastballs?

"Velo won't go any different," Kennedy said, laughing. "It'll be normal."

Kennedy has enjoyed his first camp with his new team thoroughly.

"A lot of it is just trying to remember new names on the team and in the front office, in the media," Kennedy said. "It's been a lot of fun. The guys are great. The coaching staff is great -- they keep it loose and keep it nice but they make sure we're doing it right."