Via Kevin Kernan -
Ian Kennedy has grown up a bit this offseason. He also has improved his curveball. The two go hand in hand. Kennedy must have command of his curveball to succeed.
The right-hander traveled from New York to Southern California then Tampa and on to Puerto Rico to try to find himself as a pitcher after his terrible 0-4 record and 8.17 ERA over three stints with the Yankees in 2008.
As with all journeys it began with one vital step – the first one. The right-hander made a House call that helped send him on the right path.
The former USC star went home and worked with pitching guru Tom House, who has been the Trojans’ pitching coach the past two years.
“I got some tips and started applying those and it made the break of my curveball better and the command of it extremely better,” Kennedy said from Puerto Rico. “Now I know what I have to do. Before I was just throwing it to throw it and try to throw it for a strike and not have any idea.”
Essentially, Kennedy is holding onto the baseball longer, and that makes a difference in break and command. As a result, he can make in-game adjustments to get the results he needs.
“I have a better feel for it and a lot more confidence in it where I can throw it in pretty much any count,” Kennedy said. He added that Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland watched him throw one day in Tampa and “liked” the changes he made with House.
The results have been noteworthy. This week Kennedy pitched a complete-game shutout for Mayaguez, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out seven. The previous start he fired seven shutout innings without issuing a walk.
Well, wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants if Ian Kennedy became a vital member of the Yankees starting rotation?
It’s too bad that Bill Ramsey passed away a year ago. Maybe Ian could have visited him too – for help in getting rid of his patented smirk?