Kendrick confident battling for starter spot for 1st time

Righty joined Braves on Minors deal after uneven season with Rockies

February 29th, 2016

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Kyle Kendrick spent the early portion of his career as the oft-forgotten member of those great Phillies rotations that were headlined by Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels. Now the 31-year-old right-hander finds himself forced to fight for a spot within the Braves' rotation.

Coming off a disappointing season with the Rockies, Kendrick has come to Braves camp as a non-roster invitee. His hope in gaining one of those two rotation spots hinges on how he pitches over the next few weeks and whether Atlanta chooses to fill one of the vacancies with a veteran.

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"This is the first time in my career that I have been in this position," Kendrick said. "But I understand that as long as I am healthy and I'm able to do what I've done in the past, I have no worries. If I'm healthy and throwing like I can, I feel like I can help this team win."

Julio Teheran, Bud Norris and Matt Wisler are projected to fill the first three spots in Atlanta's rotation. The top candidates for the final two spots are Williams Perez, Manny Banuelos, Jhoulys Chacin and Kendrick.

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Kendrick has struggled to live up to the expectations that were set when he posted a 3.87 ERA while making his first 20 career starts for the 2007 Phillies. He signed a free-agent deal with the Rockies last year and then paid the Coors Field consequences, as he posted a 6.32 ERA over 27 starts.

When Kendrick signed his Minor League deal with the Braves, he knew that he has had some previous success in Atlanta. He posted a 2.93 ERA in the nine starts he made at Turner Field while pitching for the Phillies from 2007-14.

"Part of the reason I didn't get a Major League deal was because of the year that I had, and I understand that," Kendrick said. "I'm not going to make any excuses, but it definitely didn't help my cause pitching in Colorado. But that's over with. I learned a lot, and I'm happy to be here. I've wanted to be a Brave for a while."