Sun, Nov 25, 2007 - Page 22 News List

Blue Jays pitcher Joe Kennedy dies unexpectedly at 28

AP , TAMPA, FLORIDA

Oakland Athletics pitcher Joe Kennedy throws to the San Francisco Giants in the fourth inning of their baseball game in Oakland, California, on May 20.

PHOTO: AP

Major league pitcher Joe Kennedy died early on Friday morning, a Hillsborough County sheriff's official said. He was 28.

Kennedy passed out at home and was brought to a hospital, Hillsborough County sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said. She had no further details.

Kennedy's agent, Damon Lapa, told ESPN.com that Kennedy died while at home with family in Florida. He did not return phone calls and an e-mail.

"We were terribly shocked," Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey said. "From what we understand he was in Bradenton ... to be the best man at a wedding today."

Godfrey said he didn't have any particulars on the cause of death.

"Obviously, when a 28-year-old man dies, ball player or not, it's a terrible, terrible thing," he said.

The left-hander was 43-61 in seven major league seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics, Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays. Kennedy compiled a 43-61 record with a 4.79 ERA, pitching 908 2/3 innings over 222 career appearances.

Kennedy made his major league debut in June 2001 and made his last appearance in relief on Sept. 29 in a 5-3 win over Tampa Bay.

Godfrey said Toronto was interested in bringing Kennedy back.

"We had every intention to speak to him," he said. "We had him on our list to talk to."

Kennedy began this year's season in Oakland as a starter but was moved to the bullpen after going 3-9 with a 4.37 ERA. He appeared in 27 games, including 16 starts, before being placed on waivers.

The Diamondbacks claimed Kennedy on Aug. 4, but he appeared in just three games for Arizona, allowing seven runs in 2 2-3 innings, before being designated for assignment on Aug. 15. The Blue Jays signed Kennedy on Aug. 29, and he got his first win as a Blue Jay on Sept. 21 at the New York Yankees.

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