After final tuneup, Kennedy ready for opener

After final tuneup, Kennedy ready for opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs right-hander Ian Kennedy is already mentally prepared for his Opening Day start in Denver on Friday. Physically, there is still some work to be done.

Kennedy gave up three runs on five hits in five innings against the Royals on Saturday. He struck out nine but gave up a two-out, two-run home run Kila Ka'aihue in the first inning. He also walked Mike Aviles on four pitches to lead off the game.

The Royals eventually rallied for six runs in the final two innings off the D-backs' bullpen for the 9-6 victory.

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"Overall, I felt pretty good," Kennedy said. "I feel pretty happy going into the season with my last two starts. My offspeed pitches are there. I didn't throw too many changeups today, but I feel like my curveball feels pretty good."

Here's another reason why Kennedy feels good: The rest of the rotation is taking shape.

Daniel Hudson will start the second game against Colorado and Joe Saunders will take the hill in the series finale. Last season, Saunders gave up seven runs on five hits in his first appearance against Colorado with Arizona. Eleven days later, he gave up one run in eight innings against the Rockies.

"I think [Saunders] is going to be fine," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's familiar with the Rockies, obviously. He had a game where I pulled him early and came back and shoved it at them. He's in good shape for them."

Gibson added that Barry Enright will start either the first or second game against the Cubs in the second series of the season. Armando Galarraga and Aaron Heilman are in competition for a start against Chicago.

Heilman is scheduled to make his final Cactus League start Sunday against the Reds.

"If everybody pitches to their potential, we can be pretty good," Kennedy said. "It's hard to tell in spring, but I really think when [Hudson] pitches to his potential, myself, Joe and Barry ... I'm pretty happy with that rotation. I think going into it, it's going to be a fun year."