Kennedy rejoins club, ready to climb back into rotation

Padres to make decision later this week on veteran righty's next start

Kennedy rejoins club, ready to climb back into rotation

DENVER -- Ian Kennedy landed in Denver 3 1/2 hours before Tuesday's game against the Rockies. He doesn't have a spot on the 25-man roster, but to hear the veteran right-hander and manager Bud Black tell it, the Padres will find room for him soon.

The 30-year-old pitched six innings against the Mariners in extended spring camp Monday as part of his rehab from a strained hamstring, and he came back feeling ready to rejoin the rotation.

"Whatever I needed to do I got done," Kennedy said. "I got my pitches in. Got my work in. Today it actually feels good to feel sore in the arm area. It feels like I actually did something. I felt better as the game went on."

Kennedy has been on the disabled list since leaving his start after 2 1/3 innings and 33 pitches in the Padres' home opener against San Francisco. Odrisamer Despaigne took his spot in the rotation for the last two starts, and has gone 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA over 13 2/3 innings.

Kennedy said he had no issues with his hamstring while pitching in Arizona on Monday. Though the real test of the hamstring comes on the mound, he didn't feel any issues fielding his position.

Kennedy fans Figueroa

"I didn't have to cover," Kennedy noted. "I did get in a rundown, but my part was just to catch and tag the guy. Guys tried bunting a couple times."

Otherwise, he mixed in all his pitches and was happy with his endurance.

"I felt better as the game went on, kind of like I do during the season," Kennedy said. "Endurance wasn't a factor. In the sixth inning I felt the best.

"I feel comfortable with everything. Today I woke up and tested [the hamstring]. It feels normal."

Black hadn't had a chance to meet with Kennedy before batting practice, and although the manager wasn't ready to speculate on exactly where Kennedy would slot back into the rotation, the skipper didn't seem to have any doubt that the veteran had met any expectations the Padres had placed on his rehab.

"He's ready," Black said. "He feels good. He came out of [Monday's] game fine. We'll catch up here shortly. If everything goes according to plan, which we expect, we'll have a decision to make later in the week."

San Diego's rotation boasted a 2.58 ERA through its first 14 games, and finding a weak link has been a challenge, but having too many quality starters to fit in a five-man rotation is a problem the Padres will welcome.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.