With the pitching staff in a state of flux (Curt Schilling is going back to the rotation, Wade Miller is on the disabled list and David Wells has a suspension looming), the Red Sox felt that having another pitcher was more valuable than calling up a position player.
DiNardo, Boston's Rule 5 draftee from December 2003, put together a solid season for Triple-A Pawtucket, ranking second in the International League with a 2.90 ERA. He is 6-3 in 21 starts.
This is the fourth time the Red Sox have promoted DiNardo this season, but he's been used sparingly (two appearances, 1 1/3 innings) in his time with the big club.
"He's been called up in situations where we've needed a durable arm," said Francona. "From listening to the reports, I think he's made good strides, which I think was expected. He's a mature kid. He keeps his eyes open. He's kind of a unique pitcher. He doesn't light up the radar gun. It will be fun to watch him pitch at some point. At some point, he's going to pitch for us and it's going to be fun. He's got the ability to roll up a lot of grounders."
Millar back at first: Kevin Millar, who was replaced by John Olerud on Friday night, was back at first base on Saturday. Francona said he spoke with Millar on Friday, but felt details of the conversation should be kept private.
While Millar has been Boston's primary first baseman for the majority of the last three seasons, it seems likely that Francona will go with a rotation at the position for the remainder of 2005.
"It's whoever we think can help us win. That's kind of always been the case," Francona said. "I think we're at a point in the year and I think everybody is on board -- we play to win every day. We'll do what we think is right and I'll always try and give guys heads up as much as I can, if they have a question, I'll tell them why. I'm pretty comfortable with the team we have. We don't have to play the same nine every day to be a really good team. I just don't think we have to play the same nine. I think we can be really good using our whole team."
Olerud underwent foot surgery in the offseason and recently was sidelined with hamstring woes, so Francona won't over-use him.
"I like having him available," Francona said. "We want to keep him available."
Ortiz follow-up: A day after star slugger David Ortiz was tossed for arguing balls and strikes, Francona was confident the incident was behind the left-handed masher.
"I think every once in a while, and hopefully every once in a while, he just needs to let off some steam," Francona said. "We try so hard to stay on him about staying in the zone. We don't want him to go out of the zone. And he is so diligent about watching pitches. He's a DH. He has time to go [watch tape]. When that ball is an inch or two off the plate, he knows it's an inch or two off the plate.
"I also understand that those pitches are sometimes called strikes. David is fine. He'll show up today and be ready to go. David has one of the best demeanors in baseball. He doesn't want balls called strikes. We battle that sometimes."
On deck: Right-hander Jonathan Papelbon (0-0, 3.48 ERA) will make his third Major League start on Sunday afternoon, wrapping up this four-game series. The Angels will counter with Paul Byrd, who is 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA.