By Dave Grant
VALLEJO, Calif. – The Vallejo Admirals will bring back a familiar face to the 2017 roster as starting pitcher David Dinelli will return for his fourth season with the franchise and 11th in professional baseball.
Dinelli – the Admirals all-time strikeouts leader with 184 – tied for the team lead with six victories last season while striking out 69. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-hander worked a team-high 99.1 innings last season for the Admirals and closed out the year with four victories in his final five outings.
During his final start of the 2016 season versus Pittsburg, the Admirals had a retirement announcement for Dinelli and saluted his three years of service to the franchise. He was exited with a lead after recording the first out of the seventh inning, received a standing ovation, and acknowledged the crowd.
“Last year my body felt old for the first time,” Dinelli said regarding his thoughts on calling it a career. “I didn’t ever want to be a guy on the field who wasn’t able to help the team win. At the midway point I was feeling not as young as I used to. But now my body feels better than it has in years. Maybe I mentally let myself think I was getting old with turning 30 around the corner. But I think I’ve got my second wind now.”
During the offseason, Dinelli contemplated returning to pitch in Vallejo. The factor that sealed the deal was the return of PJ Phillips to manage the Admirals in 2017. He put his retirement on hold and decided to play a fourth season with Vallejo.
“I talked with PJ (Phillips) and Kevin (Reilly), and the way the organization is going, it’s shaping up for championship year,” Dinelli said. “I have a lot of confidence in PJ and him building a championship-caliber team with a full year as manager. When he called me, he said ‘I got a lot of pieces put together, but I need my horse on he mound.’”
The progress Dinelli has seen the franchise and league has made from an operation standpoint was also a draw to returning with the Admirals.
“I think that each year the franchise has grown, and each department learned together as an organization,” Dinelli added. “I think this year the community will be very involved, and a lot of fences have been mended from the first ownership’s mistakes. I think attendance will be up, the wins will be up, and the community will have something to get behind and support.”
In addition to the 184 combined strikeouts through his three seasons, Dinelli’s 11 career victories are second among all Admirals pitchers during the franchise’s first four years.
Dinelli was drafted in the 6th round of the 2007 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros and graduated from Folsom High School in 2005. During his time in Astros organization, Dinelli played for both the Tri-City ValleyCats and Greenville Astros before beginning his independent baseball career.
You can even see Dinelli with On-Field Announcer, Chris Owens, in our commercial with Victory Stores airing during Giants and A’s games.
The Admirals begin their fifth season of Pacific Association play at 6:35 p.m. June 2 versus the San Rafael Pacifics at Wilson Park in Vallejo. Regular season and group tickets are still available by visiting vallejoadmirals.com or by calling (707) 641-1111.