Hudson sees how 'headhunter' label could have hurt Kennedy

Former teammate Daniel Hudson understands how Ian Kennedy's pitching might have suffered in aftermath of Dodgers' brawl.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If the "headhunter" label affixed to Ian Kennedy for hitting Zack Greinke with a pitch last June was a burden, the Diamondbacks could not tell it on the field. But they could understand if it was.

"I could definitely see it having an effect on a guy, going through that whole deal that we went through with them," Daniel Hudson said of the bad blood created by Kennedy's June 11 pitch that ignited a bench-clearing brawl.

"It could have an affect on a guy's mentality throwing in games after that, because  basically he got named a a headhunter. Now he's trying to nibble a little bit inside, he's afraid to hit guys now. It's a guy trying to protect his teammates getting labeled all sorts of different things by media members, fans and other players. All of a sudden now, you are tentative to go inside because you are afraid of what you are labeled as."

Kennedy, the team's opening day starter, acknowledged Thursday in a public appearance at Grand Canyon University that the aftereffects of the brawl and a 10-game suspension "wore on him." He went 0-4 with a 4.76 ERA in his next 10 starts before being traded to San Diego at the July 31 trade deadline. 

Kennedy hit Greinke in the right shoulder with a fastball in the seventh inning of a 5-3 loss, the fourth hit batter of the game and the apparent final straw, precipitating a full-scale brawl near the D-backs' dugout at Dodger Stadium.

"If anyone knows Ian personally, he's the nicest guy in the world," Hudson said. "That's good for him to get it off his chest. Hopefully he can move past it, getting with a different team. Hopefully he'll get a fresh start this year and go back to dominating like he did a couple of years ago."

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