Kennedy likely to skip first turn

Royals playing it safe with righty's hamstring

Kennedy likely to skip first turn

PHOENIX -- Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy threw on the side before Friday's game against the Diamondbacks and said his injured hamstring felt much better.

But the Royals appear ready to skip Kennedy in his scheduled start on Tuesday against the Mets and push him back to the following Saturday against the Twins at Kauffman Stadium.

The tentative plan for now, manager Ned Yost said, was to have right-hander Chris Young take Kennedy's place on Tuesday. The Royals then would have right-hander Yordano Ventura pitch next Friday.

"We're just being on the safe side," Yost said. "We might back him up a couple days. With the off-days, we can give him three extra days. No reason to push it."

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Kennedy, who felt some cramping and tightness in the left hamstring during Wednesday's start, said he had no issue with being moved back a few days.

"Regardless how I felt [after throwing today] they were going to do that," Kennedy said. "I agreed. No reason to push it. We have this flexibility in the schedule [with three off-days next week]. They just want to make sure it's gone and not worry about it anymore."

Kennedy said if this was the postseason, he would definitely be able to pitch on schedule. But the Royals are wary of Kennedy's hamstring issue last season, an injury that disrupted the first month.

"Compared to the last time I had this, it's way better," Kennedy said. "I'm not worried about it."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.