But DiNardo, who celebrated his 30th birthday on Saturday, isn't going to go pout about having to spend the majority of a season with Triple-A Omaha.
"It's something that you either deal with it or you don't deal with it," DiNardo said. "You go get a real job. And I think playing in Triple-A beats a lot of the 9-to-5 jobs that I would be working if I didn't play baseball. So I look at it like that."
DiNardo's persistence appears to be paying off. He will make his third start of September when he takes the hill on Monday night against Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
DiNardo, who has spent parts of the past six seasons in the Major Leagues, made his first two starts for the Royals against the American League Central-leading Tigers, allowing six runs in 10 1/3 innings of work with six strikeouts. He has said that he would like to improve on his consistency in the strike zone for his next outing. He didn't last more than 5 1/3 innings in either of his first two outings, allowing a combined four walks and 16 hits.
If there is one thing that DiNardo has going for him when runners do reach base, however, it is his propensity for inducing double plays. While with Oakland in 2007, DiNardo led the American League in doubles plays per nine innings at 1.85 per game. It was the best ratio for any pitcher with at least 100 innings thrown in A's history.
In DiNardo's first game for Kansas City on Sept. 10, he induced three double plays against the Tigers.
"I like what he brings to the table," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "I'd like to see him pitch ahead just a little bit more. But he's a great competitor. He stays real calm in key situations. Obviously, the double plays that he got in his first outing are very encouraging. ... If you're going to get behind and have a walk or a base hit, the ability to get two outs with one pitch, that's big."
DiNardo said his two starts against the first-place Tigers gave him confidence for the remainder of the season.
"They're definitely a good club," DiNardo said. "With my role right now, I just basically want to put this team in a chance to win a ballgame, whether I get the win or not. It doesn't really matter to me. Whether I get a win or not is pretty inconsequential to me."
That mentality probably is a good one. DiNardo hasn't won a big league game since April 12, 2008, against Cleveland, when he was still a member of the A's.
But DiNardo certainly picked up his share of victories for Omaha this season. He went 10-5 with a 3.32 ERA in 29 games, making 23 starts. And similar success over his final few starts this year in Kansas City could bode well for DiNardo, vying for a possible spot in the starting rotation for 2010.
"I guess it would look like that, but I'm trying not to think about that at all," DiNardo said. I'm just trying to think about the old cliche, one pitch at a time, to be completely honest with you. If I think that way, I'll hopefully be successful, and then hey, maybe I'll have a job next year."
KC: LHP Lenny DiNardo (0-1, 5.23 ERA)
DiNardo lost his second start for the Royals on Wednesday night at Detroit, but he wasn't blown out by any means. In fact, Hillman was pleased with his 5 1/3 innings. DiNardo surrendered nine hits and one walk but he threw strikes and didn't get much help from the defense. The key for the left-hander is to induce ground balls and he did that well against the Tigers. In contrast with his first start, also against the Tigers, he was zoned in and 75 of his 104 pitches were strikes.
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (11-4, 4.22 ERA)
Wakefield makes his first start since Sept. 5 while continuing to fight through left leg and lower back ailments that have kept him from taking the ball every five days. The 43-year-old knuckleballer, who earned his first career All-Star selection this season on the strength of an 11-win first half, has pitched just twice since the break. In 13 career appearances at Kauffman Stadium, Wakefield is 7-4 with a 3.30 ERA.
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Official game notes
Tuesday: Royals (Zack Greinke, 14-8, 2.14) vs. Red Sox (Paul Byrd, 1-1, 5.79), 7:10 p.m. CT
Wednesday: Royals (Luke Hochevar, 7-10, 5.79) vs. Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 15-6, 3.80), 7:10 p.m. CT
Thursday: Royals (Dusty Hughes, 0-1, 4.38) vs. Red Sox (Clay Buchholz, 6-3, 3.49), 7:10 p.m. CT