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|Posted: Fri Nov 23rd, 2007 07:30 pm||
|Major league pitcher Joe Kennedy died early Friday morning while at home with his family in Florida, agent Damon Lapa confirmed to ESPN.com.
The cause of Kennedy's death could not immediately be determined, Lapa said.
Kennedy passed out at home and was brought to a hospital, Hillsborough County sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter told the Associated Press. She had no further details.
Kennedy, 28, compiled a 43-61 record in seven major league seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics, Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays.
A left-hander, Kennedy broke into the majors in 2001 with the Devil Rays. In three full seasons with Tampa Bay he made 72 starts, compiling an 18-31 record.
"We were terribly shocked," Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey said, according to the AP. "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.
"When a 28-year-old man dies it's terrible," he said.
Florida Marlins vice president Dan Jennings, who was Tampa Bay's scouting director when the Rays selected Kennedy in the eighth round of the 1998 draft, learned of Kennedy's death Friday morning from Craig Weissmann -- the scout who signed Kennedy out of Grossmont College in El Cajon, Calif.
"There are no words to describe this,'' Jennings told ESPN.com. "It's very, very tragic. My condolences go out to him and his family.''
Jennings said he remembers Kennedy primarily for his competitiveness on the mound.
"Joe was on a mission from the moment we signed him, and that mission was to be a major league pitcher,'' Jennings said. "He was very much a competitive kid who liked challenging hitters.
"I remember joking around with him in the clubhouse one year during interleague play. We were on our way to San Francisco to face the Giants, and we were having fun with him about facing Barry Bonds. Joe told us, 'You know what? If he gets me, he'll have to earn it, because I'm gonna challenge him.' That's just who Joe was.''
Since 2004, Kennedy had two stints each with Colorado and Oakland. He started the 2007 season with Oakland, was claimed off waivers in August by Arizona, then designated for assignment before being signed by the Blue Jays on Aug. 29.
Kennedy had a career 4.79 ERA, pitching 908 2/3 innings over 222 career appearances.
Kennedy made his major league debut on June 6, 2001 as a starting pitcher. He went 5 innings, earning a win against the Blue Jays.
He made his last appearance in relief on Sept. 29, 2007 in a 5-3 win over Tampa Bay.
"The entire Oakland's A's organization sends our thoughts out to Joe's family," said Oakland assistant general manager David Forst. "He was a valued member of our organization for almost two years, and certainly a guy we loved having around.''
Kennedy was married with a one-year old son.