Brett Kennedy will be spending his Fourth of July on the pitcher's mound at Washington's Nationals Park.  The 2012 Atlantic City High School graduate and will be making his first major-league appearance in five years  when he starts for the Cincinnati Reds today against the Nationals.  The game will be televised on MLB Network with an 11:05 am first pitch.

Kennedy, 28, will be pitching in the majors for the first time since 2018, when the right-hander had a 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA for the San Diego Padres.

"It means a lot more this time around than the first time," Kennedy told Monday. "There's a lot of times I thought I might be out of the game."

Kennedy's comeback is a testament to perseverance.   The Brigantine native suffered a Lat Muscle strain in 2019 that caused him to miss the s eason, then the Covid-19 Pandemic canceled the entire minor league season in 2  020.  He spent 2021 pitching in the minors for the Padres before becoming a free agen t.

He started last summer pitching for the Long Island Ducks  of the Atlantic League - the same league that housed the now-defunct Atlantic City Sur  f - before signing with the Boston Red Sox and pitching in their minor league system.

This season started back in Long Island, where he went 1-0 with a 3.05 ERA in three starts before signing with the Reds.  He made eight starts for the Reds' Triple-A affiliate in Louisville, going 2-2 with a 3.71 ERA.  Now he's back in the big leagues.

"Everything happens for a reason," Kennedy said. "I feel like everything I had to do made me better and made me ready for where I am now."

The Cincinnati Reds are currently tied for the top spot in the National League Central division, after going 18-9 in the month of June, the same total wins for the month as the Philadelphia Phillies.

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