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D-backs’ Ian Kennedy: ‘I think 10 games, they are trying to set an example’

Major League Baseball suspended eight players/coaches (starting pitcher Ian Kennedy, infielder Eric Hinske, Kirk Gibson, Don Mattingly, relievers Ronald Belisario and J.P. Howell, infielder Skip Schumaker and hitting coach Mark McGwire) Friday for their roles in Tuesday’s brawl at Dodger Stadium between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kennedy, who was slapped with the longest suspension of 10 games, told reporters before Friday’s game in San Diego that he didn’t even catch wind of the news until his phone started going off with calls from friends, family, Gibson and agent Scott Boras.

The D-backs’ right-hander was at the forefront of the brawl, after high-and-tight pitches hit Los Angeles outfielder Yaisel Puig and starting pitcher Zach Greinke in the sixth and seven innings respectively. Still, the decision — which was the harshest levied to a pitcher since the Royals’ Runelvys Hernandez in 2005 — didn’t sit well with 28-year-old.

“No,” Kennedy said when asked if the ban was fair. “That’s why I’m going through with the appealing process. Look at the history, my history and the history of first offenses of things that have happened in the past, that’s why I’m going to go through the appealing process.

“I think 10 games, they are trying to set an example.”

The former 21-game winner said he’s not sure how long the appeals process takes, but admitted he’s getting a little bit tired of the attacks on who he is as a pitcher and as a person.

“The way I live life, I don’t really look back at how things go,” said Kennedy. “There’s a lot of things being attacked about my character, saying that I’m a headhunter. I really don’t appreciate that, but those are people’s opinions.

“People in my clubhouse, my family, my friends; I’ve had a lot of friends that have called or texted me throughout this whole thing and shown a lot of support for me.”

One opinion that also matters to Kennedy is his own.

While he’s been criticized in the days since Tuesday’s brawl for aggressively going inside on Puig and Greinke, Kennedy insisted that mistakes happen, but he’s not going to change his approach on the mound.

“Everybody knows that in order to have success in the big leagues or anywhere, you have to pitch in and out. I’ve proven that,” said Kennedy. “I mean you’re not going to go in trying to hit anybody, but sometimes it happens.

We’re not perfect as pitchers. Otherwise, if we were perfect we’d have 0.00 ERAs.”

With his appeal pending, Kennedy (3-4 with a 5.49 ERA) is scheduled to start Sunday’s finale against the Padres.