Brett Kennedy called his dad, Bernie, at about 4 p.m. Sunday.
“Do you think you can make it out to Milwaukee (on) Wednesday?” Brett asked.
Kennedy, a 2012 Atlantic City High School graduate from Brigantine, will make his major league debut that day.
Padres manager Andy Green announced Sunday that Kennedy will be promoted from Triple-A and start for San Diego on Wednesday night against the Brewers in Milwaukee. Bernie, his wife, Cyndy, and several other relatives and friends will head to Milwaukee for the game.
Brett could not be reached for a comment because his minor league team played a game Sunday night.
“We weren’t really sure what was going on,” Bernie said. “I had to more or less hear it from the horse’s mouth, which is Brett. It’s a great day. I’m just happy for him. I truly believe it was all his hard work. I just couldn’t believe it until I heard it from Brett.”
Brent Bean, coach of the Atlantic City baseball team, had one message for Kennedy when the San Diego Padres drafted him in 2015.
“I told him I have a book bag in my closet ready to go,” Bean said. “As soon as you get the call, I’m on the first flight out. Our flights are booked.”
Kennedy, 24, is 10-0 with a 2.72 ERA for the triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas this season. Kennedy has struck out 80 and walked 23 in 891/3 innings. He last pitched Wednesday. Kennedy pitched in the triple-A All Star game last month.
“If you know the baseball game, Brett wasn’t a (highly touted) prospect,” Bernie said. “He more or less forced them to bring him with his record and his hard work.”
Kennedy was a three-year captain of the Atlantic City High School baseball team. He then pitched at Fordham University and led the Rams to the Atlantic 10 championship game as a sophomore and junior.
“He’s a hard-working kid,” Bean said. “He is one of those kinds of guys who was always on time to practice, worked hard and stayed late.”
The Padres selected Kennedy in the 11th round of the June 2015 draft and signed him for a $100,000 bonus.
San Diego has a need for starting pitching after letting starters Tyson Ross and Jordan Lyles be claimed on waivers Sunday by the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers, respectively. The Padres (44-70) have the National League’s worst record. San Diego is at a point in the season where it wants to start giving some of its talented prospects a chance to play in the big leagues.
The family began to suspect Sunday morning Brett could be promoted. Brett’s older brother, Chase, called their father and told him the Padres had waived some pitchers.
Bernie Kennedy saw some tweets and blog posts Sunday afternoon that suggested that Brett would be promoted.
“Until I heard from Brett,” Bernie said, “I was ignoring all the tweets.”
After it became official, Bernie was inundated with calls and texts.
“Since midafternoon, the phone has exploded,” Bernie said.
Kennedy will join Mike Trout of Millville, Matt Szczur of Lower Cape May and Darren Ford of Vineland as former Cape-Atlantic League players who reached the major leagues in the past 10 years.
Trout, with the Los Angeles Angels, is widely considered MLB’s top player. Szczur played with the Cubs and Padres and is now with the Chihuahuas. Ford played in a total of 33 games for the San Francisco Giants in 2010 and 2011.
According to the Baseball Almanac, Kennedy would be the first local pitcher to make it to the major leagues since the late Dick Errickson (Vineland). Errickson went 35-42 while playing five seasons (1938 to 1942) with the Boston Bees, Boston Braves and Chicago Cubs.
“I think it’s going to be a tremendous honor for Brett and his family,” Bean said.
“I can only imagine the excitement for his parents to see their son called up to the major leagues after all the hard work he’s gone through and the success he’s had this year. For me as a coach, I couldn’t be more proud.”