Pitcher Joe Kennedy, 28, Dies In Florida After Passing Out

Friday, November 23rd 2007, 1:45 pm
By: News On 6

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Major league pitcher Joe Kennedy died early 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 from The Associated Press.

``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 the 2007 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 August 29th, and he got his first win as a Blue Jay on September 21st against the New York Yankees.

``The entire Oakland's A's organization sends our thoughts out to Joe's family,'' Oakland assistant general manager David Forst told ESPN.com. ``He was a valued member of our organization for almost two years, and certainly a guy we loved having around.''