Yanks in no rush to demote Kennedy
Not needing fifth starter, club can work with struggling rookie
NEW YORK -- The Yankees, manager Joe Girardi said on Saturday morning, are in no rush to make a determination on the immediate future of struggling young right-hander Ian Kennedy.
There has been speculation that Kennedy, who is 0-2 with an 8.37 ERA in six appearances (five starts) to this point in the young season, might be sent to the Minor Leagues to sort out his troubles.
"I'm sure there will be more discussions, but we don't need a fifth starter until May 10," said Girardi. "So we have some time to make some decisions and talk about what we are going to do."
Girardi said that he didn't discuss Kennedy's situation with general manager Brian Cashman after Friday's game.
There is no question that Kennedy, a first-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft who is experiencing growing pains, needs to make adjustments. He has given up 28 hits, walked 20 batters and struck out 16 in 23 2/3 innings.
Girardi said it could be beneficial to keep Kennedy, the 21st pick overall in 2006, with the Yankees so that the 23-year-old can have the immediate attention of pitching coach Dave Eiland.
"The thing about Ian is his side works have been great," Girardi said. "Sometimes, it's like giving a hitter who is struggling a day off. You can talk about some different things you can do, you can make some adjustments to let his mind maybe slow down a little bit at times and make sure his though process is correct."
If Kennedy were to be sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre or Double-A Trenton, it's likely he would make only one start before the Yankees would need his services again.
The Yankees don't have too many options other than to stick with Kennedy. They plan to call up call up Darrell Rasner to start in place of injured righty Phil Hughes against the Mariners at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
If they wanted to send Kennedy down for an extended period of time, it's possible the Yankees could call up left-hander Kei Igawa. But Igawa struggled at the Major League level last season after signing with the Yankees in November 2006 and spent most of last year in the Minors because he was 2-3 with a 6.25 ERA in 14 appearances, including 12 starts, in the Majors.
The Yankees knew it was entirely possible that Kennedy and Hughes might struggle this season. And both pitchers have. Hughes was 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in six starts when he was placed on the disabled list with a fractured rib on Wednesday.
Kennedy didn't even spend one full season in the Minors. He made two starts for the Yankees' Rookie League team in Staten Island in 2006, then moved from Class A to Double-A, then to Triple-A before joining the Yankees last season and going 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA in 2007.
"His last start, there were some good things," said Girardi, trying to remain positive. "We still need to get him better, because he's not pitching like he's capable of."
Kit Stier is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.