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Kennedy's extended spring start goes well

Padres right-hander hurls six innings, has 'no issues' with hamstring

DENVER -- Ian Kennedy had a promising appearance Monday in extended spring camp in Arizona, throwing six innings and 81 pitches. He has been on the disabled list since leaving his start in the fourth game of the season after 2 1/3 innings and 33 pitches in the Padres' home opener against San Francisco.

"He looked good, [threw] all his pitches," manager Bud Black said, relaying the report he got from those who saw Kennedy pitch in Arizona. "He had a few strikeouts. They nicked him for a couple runs, but overall he's throwing the ball good, no issues with the hamstring."

Kennedy is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday, and Black confirmed that a return to the rotation was within the realm of possibility. The right-hander is heading to Colorado to meet the team and resume his work under the supervision of the Major League staff.

"When he rejoins us tomorrow, we'll re-evaluate and see where we are, but we feel good about where he is right now," Black said Monday. "Later in the week we'll come to a determination of where we are with Ian and how that relates to our pitching staff, but we're encouraged."

Kennedy, 30, is coming off a 13-13 season with a 3.63 ERA and 201 innings pitched. He allowed two hits and two walks while striking out two against San Francisco in his season debut.

Odrisamer Despaigne started the season as the long man in the bullpen and took Kennedy's spot in the rotation. He made his second start in Monday's series opener in Colorado after beating the D-backs with seven innings of one-run ball last Tuesday.

"It's nice to have a guy like Despaigne out there [in the bullpen], for the reason that just happened to Ian and us," Black said. "With him in the 'pen, he can fill a variety of different roles. Not only pitch length, but I think he can give you an inning late in the game, too. With some stuff, some velocity, some breaking pitches. He's very tough on right-handed hitters. He's a Major League pitcher. He's got a lot of versatility."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to
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