Ian Kennedy’s season is over, as the Rangers announced that the veteran right-hander has been placed on the 60-day injured list due to a right rotator cuff strain. Texas selected the contract of left-hander Jake Latz from Triple-A to take Kennedy’s spot on the active roster.
The injury adds to an altogether rough season for Kennedy, who has spent most of the season at Triple-A while compiling a 7.16 ERA over 16 1/3 innings at the MLB level. The Rangers signed Kennedy to a minor league deal last winter and he made the roster out of Spring Training, but Texas then designated the 38-year-old for assignment in May. He had enough service time to opt for free agency rather than accept an outright assignment, but Kennedy then re-signed with the Rangers on a new minors deal a month later.
The Rangers only just selected Kennedy back to the MLB roster on September 5, but this second look in the Show hasn’t gone any smoother. Kennedy had a 7.20 ERA over 10 innings at the time of his DFA in May, and he has a 7.11 ERA in 6 1/3 innings and five appearances since returning in September. Friday’s 12-3 Rangers loss to the Guardians saw Kennedy tagged for three earned runs over 1 1/3 innings.
Now in his fifth season as a full-time relief pitcher, Kennedy posted good numbers in 2019 and 2021, but he has a 5.81 ERA over 66 2/3 frames since the start of the 2022 season. This rotator cuff problem now presents another obstacle to his quest to land another contract this winter, though the severity of his strain isn’t yet known.
Since even a lower-level rotator cuff strain means that Kennedy would miss more than 15 days on the IL, the immediate placement on the 60-day IL allows Texas to open a 40-man roster spot for an immediate bullpen replacement. This opens the door for Latz to make his first Major League appearance since his debut outing in 2021, when he threw 4 2/3 innings in a spot start when the Rangers were shorthanded by a COVID-19 outbreak.
A fifth-round pick for the Rangers in the 2017 draft, Latz has spent his entire pro career in the Texas organization, apart from a brief stint in independent ball during the canceled 2020 minor league season. Working as both a starter and a reliever, Latz has a 4.10 ERA over 63 2/3 Triple-A innings this year, with an impressive 32.7% strikeout rate but also an underwhelming 10.9% walk rate.