Sunday, April 16, 2006

Trickster Lenny DiNardo Will Start for Boston

Some pitchers throw spitters. Some cut the seams. But Lenny DiNardo has the best trick of all, a ball on a string. DiNardo will come out of the bullpen Monday to replace injured starter David Wells for the Red Sox, and try to demonstrate why you don't have to throw 99 mph to win ballgames in the majors. DiNardo, 26, a crafty lefty in the classic sense, has three speeds to his fastball: slow, slower and drop dead slow, all thrown with more movement than a butterfly in a hail storm. Lenny DiNardo racked up 97 strikeouts in 110 innings with a 3.01 ERA to go 6-3 for AAA Pawtucket last year. When opposing batters weren't waving in the air they were usually grounding out to the infield. DiNardo gives up a few free passes, but often seems to find the right mix of pitches to escape jams. It will be DiNardo's second major league start, having come out of the bullpen seven out of eight appearances for the big club last year, being credited with a 1.84 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 14 innings. A pitcher who gets the maximum out of a limited amount of ability, his skills were among the insurance policies the BoSox relied upon when trading Bronson Arroyo.

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