Kennedy on his game in stellar Royals debut

Kennedy on his game in stellar Royals debut

KANSAS CITY -- As far as debuts go, right-hander Ian Kennedy's first start with the Royals couldn't have gone much better.

Kennedy, who signed a five-year, $70 million deal in the offseason, was in total command of the Twins in a 7-0 win on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Kennedy, who has pitched for three previous teams, admits his opening act with the Royals was a little more special in his mind than the others.

Kennedy on his KC debut

"This was a little more added to it," Kennedy said. "You're coming to a new team, coming to play for the defending World [Series] champs. You want to do well. You're coming and pitching at The K -- it's such a great atmosphere. You want it to go right."

And it did. Kennedy was sharp from the onset. He went 6 2/3 shutout innings and gave up five hits while walking one and striking out seven.

"He was just phenomenal tonight," manager Ned Yost said. "That's the guy we signed."

Kennedy even thought his debut went even better than he had hoped.

"Maybe a little bit, yeah," Kennedy said. "You just want to focus on every single pitch and not get broad-focused, and thinking about the rest of the game. That's why I continued to tell myself every pitch, every batter, just focus on the present. If you start thinking too far ahead, that's when you suddenly get two guys on and nobody out.

"But I thought it went well. My fastball command was really good and I was able to work some things off of that."

The other good news was that Kennedy's hamstring, which he tweaked toward the end of Spring Training, held up 100 percent.

"It held up really good," Kennedy said. "Like I said early on this week, it felt really good on Sunday when we got back. It just has been feeling even better all week."

The only drawback was a slight one: Yost had hoped to keep him under 105 pitches, but Kennedy, as he tried to get through seven complete innings, wound up throwing 109 pitches.

"A little bit [nervous] about that," Yost said. "That last hitter just kept fouling off pitches. We didn't want to take him much past 105 [pitches], but I think it was OK."

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.