D-backs Wrapup: Kennedy, Lineups and Lee

Here’s your Wednesday recap…

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RHP Brandon Webb is shooting for late-April return.
The signing of RHP Kris Benson is now official.

ROUGH ONE: For the second straight day, a D-backs starting pitcher had trouble getting a feel for his pitches.

Tuesday, it was Edwin Jackson and Wednesday it was Ian Kennedy’s turn.

The right-hander allowed four runs on seven hits over 3 1/3 innings of work against the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

“I felt all over the place,” Kennedy said. “My fastball command wasn’t nearly what I wanted it to be. It’d feel like one pitch would be there and the next pitch I would try to repeat it and it’s up and away or I’d pull it in the dirt. It’s frustrating because I always want to do well. It’s Spring Training, but still I want to perform. It’s just one of those starts where I felt like I couldn’t repeat the same pitch I had before.”

Kennedy did not allow a run in his first two starts of the spring, but Wednesday he seemed to be behind on a majority of the hitters.

“That’s another thing I’m frustrated about,” he said. “I put them in hitter’s counts almost every time. When I was ahead I got it to even. It was 0-1 then it was 1-1 or I’d get a 1-2 and then I’d go to 2-2. You can’t pitch late in games throwing that many pitches every time. I physically feel good. That’s the frustrating part. You feel good and then I feel like I can’t repeat the same pitch so that’s what’s frustrating.”

LINING UP: The starting lineup for the D-backs on Wednesday — Drew (ss), Jackson (lf), Upton (rf), LaRoche (1b), Reynolds (3b), Montero (c), Johnson (2b) and Young (cf) — included every player you would expect to be in there on Opening Day.

As for the batting order…well, that remains a work in progress.

One thing seems certain and that is that manager A.J. Hinch likes the combination of Upton, LaRoche and Reynolds in the 3-4-5 spots.

Another thing that seems likely is Jackson in the No. 2 hole given his plate discipline and on-base abilities.

Leadoff hitter? Stay tuned.

“Kelly and Stephen and CY could all conceivable hit near the top or the bottom of our lineup,” Hinch said. “It’s a good problem to have. We have the makings of an offense that could be pretty fluid throughout the order.”

So if Jackson is second, Upton third, LaRoche fourth, Reynolds fifth and Montero sixth that means that two of the three candidates to hit leadoff would end up in the seventh and eighth spots in the order.

While the order will change during the season, Hinch will try to keep it consistent.

“I don’t want to get into a routine of flipping the lineup all the time,” he said. “I do like the idea of having the guys understand their roles and understand where it is. At the top of the order, I want the guys to be the table-setters for the middle of the order. It could change over time. I look at it a different way that with so many options it’s an advantage for us.”

NOT MUCH: The D-backs did not have much reaction to the news that Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee had been suspended for five regular season games for throwing over the head of Chris Snyder on Monday in Tucson.

“We don’t have them on our schedule,” Snyder said. “The only time we would see them is if we both make it in October and by then I’m sure that suspension will be over with.”

So did Snyder think it was deserved?

“That’s not my call,” he said. “MLB made the call on it. That’s it.”

How about you Hinch, what do you think about it?

“Nothing for me to comment on,” Hinch said. “It’s MLB’s business and the Mariners business.”

QUICK HITTER: Upton continues to hit the ball with authority this spring. He picked up another pair of hits Wednesday and Hinch said he looks to be in a “good rhythm” at the plate. …

Mark Reynolds hit his first homer of the spring in the sixth inning.

“He’s been inching forward in his contact,” Hinch said. …

With Brandon Webb starting the year on the disabled list there are two spots in the rotation up for grabs for Billy Buckner, Rodrigo Lopez, Kevin Mulvey (and maybe) Kris Benson.

If camp ended today it would not be a surprise to see Kennedy in the third spot and Buckner No. 4. The D-backs could then wait until April 17 before needing to carry a fifth starter.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that Buckner and Kennedy have a leg up,” Hinch said. “But I wouldn’t count Lopez and Mulvey out by any means.”

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