From his perch in the desert, right-hander Ian Kennedy is perfectly content to have left the No. 4 train to the Bronx behind.
He's making his pitch toward the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation and, though they're not handing him the job, they are giving him what might be the most important guarantee he could get: They view him as a starter, period. The bullpen is not an option.
"We'd like him to win the job," manager A.J. Hinch says. "We feel like he's going to win the job."
As Hinch says, they're not handing out jobs. Kennedy must earn his keep. But you get the idea. ...
"It's nice, because when I was with the Yankees, I didn't know this spring if I was going to relieve or start, what my role was," Kennedy says. "If they wanted me to start in Triple-A. ...
"Coming here, they said, 'Here's what you could have. You've got to just do what you do.' That's the advantage of being here. If you look around, there's a lot of good, young players here. That's what I'm excited about."
Having missed most of '09 with an aneurysm near his right shoulder, Kennedy is doing his normal spring work and feeling good. The Diamondbacks' rotation is somewhat in flux because of ace Brandon Webb's slow return from shoulder surgery.
Kennedy figured to line up as the No. 4 starter behind Webb, Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson -- though with Webb expected to start on the disabled list, Kennedy could find himself pitching the third game of the season against San Diego.
He's spent a lot of time with Webb this spring which, among other things, has resulted in Kennedy adding a sinker to his repertoire. That first came up during the Arizona Fall League.
"I talk to Webby a lot," Kennedy says. "He's usually in the training room, and I've asked him a lot of questions so far about pitching, trying to pick his brain on how he can throw that great of a two-seamer [sinking fastball]."
Sunblock Day? Finally, some sun and some 70-degree weather. And don't look now, but they're predicting highs of 83 and 84 Tuesday and Wednesday in Phoenix.
Likes: Diamondbacks bench coach Kirk Gibson and former major leaguer Brett Butler, now managing at Triple-A Reno, giving hands-on lessons on baserunning the other day on one of the back fields. I hope the younger Diamondbacks in particular were listening, there's a lot of wisdom to be learned from those two men. ... The Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch off of I-10 on the way south to Tucson. Never fails to amuse. And no, I didn't stop and pet the deer (one of the options listed in the extravagant signage). ... Picacho Peak, between Casa Grande and Tucson off of I-10. My friend Steve Gilbert of MLB.com informed me that the westernmost battle of the Civil War was waged there. It's now a state park, and there's a re-enactment of the battle each year. ... Watching the Big East title game Saturday night on television, great scene at the end after West Virginia won and they blasted John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads over the speaker system in Madison Square Garden with the Mountaineer fans singing loudly, especially to the lines in which Denver sings, "To the place, I belong, West Virginia. ..." Sounded great on television.
Dislikes: So I hear there's going to be a "big announcement" on a Detroit radio station Friday night from Alto Reed, saxophone player for Bob Seger. A summer tour, perhaps? How cool would that be? Uh, no. The announcement, according to the crack Web site Segerfile.com, is that the sax guy will be joining the radio station's on-air staff. Yawn.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"It's funny how it's the little things in life that mean the most
"Not where you live, what you drive or the price tag on your clothes
"There`s no dollar sign on a piece of mind, this I`ve come to know
"So if you agree have a drink with me
"Raise your glasses for a toast
"To a little bit of chicken fried
"Cold beer on a Friday night
"A pair of jeans that fit just right
"And the radio up"
-- Zac Brown Band, Chicken Fried