Brett Kennedy makes big-league return as Reds visit Nats

Cincinnati right-hander Brett Kennedy is expected to make his first major league appearance since 2018 when the Reds play the second game of a four-game series against the host Washington Nationals on Tuesday

Kennedy, 28, has endured a pitching odyssey since going 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in six starts for the San Diego Padres five years ago.

A lat strain put Kennedy on the injured list for the 2019 season, and the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the minor leagues in 2020. Kennedy became a free agent after pitching in the minors in 2021, and he spent 2022 in Boston’s system, making appearances at Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester.

During his journey back to the big leagues, Kennedy also spent time with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League.

Kennedy started this season with Long Island before the Reds purchased his contract. He made eight starts at Triple-A Louisville, going 2-2 with a 3.71 ERA. He is expected to start Tuesday’s game or enter after an opener

“It means a lot more this time around than the first time,” Kennedy said of his return. “There’s a lot of times I thought I might be out of the game. … But everything happens for a reason. I feel like everything I had to do made me better and made me ready for where I am now.”

While Kennedy will be appearing in his seventh big-league game, Patrick Corbin (5-9, 4.84 ERA) will appear in his 296th and making his 278th start when he takes the mound for the Nationals

Corbin is coming off his best outing of the season, which followed his worst. He gave up seven runs on seven hits in five innings during a loss to the Padres on June 23, then responded by striking out nine over seven scoreless innings on Wednesday to earn a win against the Seattle Mariners.

“Just a good job using both sides of the plate, good fastball command, good slider — had a really good feel for that (on Wednesday),” Corbin said. “Defense played great and (I) was just in a really good rhythm there with (catcher Riley Adams).”

Corbin is 5-4 with a 3.87 ERA in 13 career games (12 starts) against the Reds. Kennedy will be opposing Washington for the first time

The Reds continue to roll thanks to a different hero almost every day. On Monday night, Joey Votto broke an 0-for-21 skid with a two-run homer, Cincinnati relievers tossed four scoreless innings and Reds beat the Nationals 3-2

“I have felt good. It’s been frustrating,” said Votto, who returned from left biceps and rotator cuff surgery to make his season debut on June 19. “Any time you go through a cold spell, especially early, it can be a bit irritating.

“You want to be chill at the plate, you want to feel good about yourself. But when you feel like you’re coming from behind, that can be daunting at times.”

The Reds have won 17 of their past 21 overall and are 11-1 in their last 12 road games

Jeimer Candelario homered in the Monday loss for Washington, which was returning home from a 6-3 road trip.

“We were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “I talk about it all the time: Drive in that runner from third with less than two outs. We’ve got to find a way to do that.

–Field Level Media

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