Diamondbacks tab Kennedy as Opening Day starter

Mar 16, 2011, 4:38 AM | Updated: 6:02 am

PHOENIX – The Arizona Diamondbacks have named Ian Kennedy to be the team’s Opening Day starter on April 1st against the Colorado Rockies.

“Just looking at what he did last year and the way he’s throwing the ball and where he’s at, he was the guy,” said manager Kirk Gibson on Tuesday.

The right-hander, in his first season with Arizona last year, went 9-10 with a 3.80 ERA after being acquired in a trade from the New York Yankees. He had 168 strikeouts and 70 walks in 32 starts.

The 26-year-old Kennedy talked about his emotions upon learning he would be the first D-back to take the mound in the regular season.

“Gibby called me in there and I was so happy. It’s just a big honor and something you dream about as a kid,” said Kennedy.

General manager Kevin Towers said Kennedy was a good choice to handle the responsibility of being the Opening Day pitcher.

“He pitched very good for this ball club last year. He’s a guy that won’t have any fear of being an Opening Day starter,” said Towers.

In Spring Training this year, Kennedy is 0-0 with a 7.88 ERA in three outings.

Kennedy won’t look at his first start as different from any other.

“I’m going to prepare just as if it’s my day to start,” said Kennedy.

Gibson also said Daniel Hudson will be the Diamondbacks’ No. 2

Hudson is 1-1 with a 3.48 ERA in three appearances this spring.

The team did acknowledge that Joe Saunders will be in the rotation, but is unsure how the rest will be filled out.

Zach Duke, a favorite to land one of the last spots, will miss at least the first month of the season with a broken hand.

The Diamondbacks still have Aaron Heilman and Armando Galarraga competing for rotation spots.

“We got two more weeks to decide that. We’ll probably have a better idea a week from now,” said Towers.

The D-backs’ GM revealed the team might be looking elsewhere to fill one of the last spots.

“We’ll see whose out there and available the last two weeks,” said Towers.

Arizona Sports’ Kyndra de St. Aubin contributed to this report.

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