Who is Brett Kennedy? Journeyman pitcher gets start for Cincinnati vs. Toronto

Reds starting pitcher Brett Kennedy

Reds starting pitcher Brett Kennedy

The Cincinnati Reds announced Thursday that right-hander Brett Kennedy is getting the start in Friday night’s series-opener against the Toronto Blue Jays at Great American Ball Park.

Kennedy made a relief appearance during the Reds’ 9-2 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 11. When he started for the Reds on July 4, he earned a win against the Washington Nationals in his first big-league appearance since pitching for the San Diego Padres in 2018.

Kennedy pitched for the independent-league Long Island Ducks for part of the 2022 season, and made another three starts for the Atlantic League team this season before the Reds signed him in mid-May.

Here are five things to know about Kennedy ahead of his second start for the Reds:

Kennedy was drafted one pick before Reds relief pitcher Ian Gibaut.

The Padres selected Kennedy with the 12th pick of the 11th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. The Tampa Bay Rays took Gibaut with the 13th pick.

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval also was drafted in the 11th round in 2015.

Kennedy pitched three seasons at Fordham University.

In 222 innings over his three seasons with the Rams, Kennedy allowed just seven home runs.

Hall of Famers Frankie Frisch and Ed Walsh also attended Fordham, as did former Reds pitcher Pete Harnisch, who was an All-American there.

Kennedy is tied for third among Fordham’s all-time strikeout leaders with 218. Harnisch ranks fifth with 213.

Kennedy threw a 95-mph fastball during his July start.

“I’m at a loss for words, not pitching in a major-league game since 2018 and the road I took,” Kennedy said after his win, per The Enquirer’s Gordon Wittenmyer. “It just makes everything worth it. I think that’s part of why I could just go out there and compete and not have the external factors of pressure.”

Kennedy, who turned 29 Aug. 4, struck out seven in five innings in his most recent start for Triple-A Louisville against the Omaha Storm Chasers on Aug. 2.

Kennedy starred at Atlantic City High School, about 8 miles from Reds pitching prospect Chase Petty’s alma mater, Mainland Regional.

Kennedy was a three-year member and captain at Atlantic City before heading to Fordham. Petty, the Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year in 2021, became the first ballplayer from South Jersey since Mike Trout in 2009 to be selected in the first round of the draft.

Kennedy told shorenewstoday.com’s Bill LeConey in 2015 that he was proud to be a South Jersey native selected in the draft.

“It’s definitely cool for South Jersey,” Kennedy said, per LeConey. “Ever since Trout, South Jersey players have been getting a lot more credit, and a lot more scouts coming out to watch. Hopefully we can make a name for ourselves that there’s great baseball here in South Jersey, rather than all the focus just going to Florida and Texas.”

Kennedy’s final start as a Padre in 2018 came at GABP.

Kennedy allowed four earned runs on a Joey Votto single and four walks with two strikeouts for San Diego in a 12-6 loss in Cincinnati on Sept. 7, 2018.

Kennedy had season-ending knee surgery, and a lat strain sidelined him for most of the 2019 season. He didn’t pitch in 2020 because of the pandemic.

He pitched in 2021 in the Padres’ Arizona Complex League and at Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso, and San Diego released him in September. In 2022, the Red Sox purchased his contract after his first of two stints with Long Island, but he became a free agent after pitching 76 2/3 innings in the minors for Boston.

This season, he’s pitched 11 2/3 innings at Long Island, 64 innings at Louisville and seven for the Reds.

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This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Who is Brett Kennedy? Journeyman pitcher gets Toronto-Cincinnati start

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