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A's Kennedy a first-rate fill-in at second base

A's Kennedy a first-rate fill-in at second base
Adam Kennedy didn't get caught up in a lot of reflection and second-guessing himself, even though the scenario was ripe for it.

Most 10-year major league veterans wearing a World Series ring and owning an American League Championship Series MVP award don't envision a career arc that places them on the Durham Bulls at 33.

But after being released by the St. Louis Cardinals in February, Kennedy signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and began the season with the organization's Triple-A affiliate.

It was the first time since his rookie year in 1999 that a healthy Kennedy opened a season in the minor leagues.

"I don't know about (doing much) reflection," said Kennedy, a career .276 hitter with the Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels . "It was just about trying to stay positive. It was definitely not easy being there."

Kennedy hit .280 with three home runs in 23 games for the Bulls, and the A's came calling. Oakland acquired the second baseman May 8 for a player to be determined (eventually minor league infielder Joe Dillon).

Kennedy was in Oakland's lineup the next day, and it's likely he will remain there for the foreseeable future.

"I was really happy," A's shortstop Orlando Cabrera said when describing his initial reaction to hearing that his former double-play partner with the Angels would be joining the club. "(Kennedy) is a guy who is going to help us a lot. He's going to handle situations extremely well. He's going to help us with his bat and his defense. He's a great competitor."

Other than Cabrera, who has started all 31 games at shortstop, the A's infield has featured nine starters at three positions.

Second baseman Mark Ellis and infielder Nomar Garciaparra hit the disabled list because of calf injuries April 29. In the nine-game stretch between then and the acquisition of Kennedy, the A's started three players at second base. Eric Patterson, Gregorio Petit and Bobby Crosby combined to hit .237 with two RBIs during the stretch. In his first four games with Oakland, Kennedy is hitting .286 with a double and an RBI.

"He's had some real good at-bats," Manager Bob Geren said Wednesday before Kennedy went 2 for 3 with a walk during the A's 7-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals. "He has a real good feel for what he's doing. ... I'm real impressed with him."

Garciaparra could return near the end of the A's seven-game trip that begins today in Detroit. Ellis is two to three weeks away, but Kennedy isn't worried about roster math for the time being.

"For me, if I'm in the lineup that day, I'll try and do my job," Kennedy said. "That's about it. Other than that, it's getting a little too far ahead of myself, and I'm not doing that."

In the meantime, he's not complaining. And there's no need for reflection.

"Hopefully I'm right in the middle of (my career)," said Kennedy, a member of the 2002 Angels team that defeated the Giants in the World Series. "Hopefully I still have some good years left to play."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 15, 2009

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