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Diamondbacks pitcher Ian Kennedy looking forward to Yankee Stadium return

04/15/2013 1:43 AM ET
By Matt Hughes

Ian Kennedy is 1-1 for Arizona this season, including a victory on Opening Day.(AP)
Ian Kennedy will return to Yankee Stadium this week for the first time since being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks prior to the 2010 season.

The former Yankees pitcher is not scheduled to make a start for the Diamondbacks during the three-game series, but he is looking forward to reuniting with his former teammates.

Kennedy said Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter have been influential on his career, and he is planning to bring jerseys for the Yankees icons to autograph. 

Kennedy is especially grateful for Pettitte's support and noted their regular lunches together on the road during the 2008 season.

"I looked up to him a lot, and he kind of wanted to help me along the way, which was really cool," Kennedy told AZCentral.com.

He also cited Jeter's support following a demotion to the minors.

"He said we've all done it, all been sent down and he just kind of told me, 'Just know that you belong here,'" Kennedy said. "It was really cool to hear that from Derek Jeter."

During three seasons with the Yankees, the right-hander showed flashes of the ability to become a regular starter. The Diamondbacks eventually acquired Kennedy in late 2009 in the same trade that brought Curtis Granderson to the Yankees.

Kennedy had a breakout season in 2011, posting a 21-4 record, and he is 46-27 since being traded to the Diamondbacks. 

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