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Skill at plate Dykstra’s only relation to Lenny


Allan Dykstra is accustomed to getting heckled about his father.

The 51s first baseman has become adept at blocking out the abuse, but he lost his composure once during an at-bat and had to step out of the batter’s box. To stop himself from laughing.

Contrary to popular belief, Dykstra is not related to former New York Mets star Lenny “Nails” Dykstra.

“The only time I ever called time, a guy yelled out, ‘Don’t worry. We Googled you and we know you’re not related. But we’re still gonna call you ‘Nails,’ ” the easygoing Dykstra said. “It’s all fun and games.”

Dykstra, who turns 27 on May 21, said he’s been asked all his life if Lenny Dykstra is his father.

“Easily over a million times,” he said. “Not just me, but my teammates anywhere I’ve played. I think my dad, Randy, gets it the worst, just because people assume he’s actually not my dad.

“It’s part of the territory, especially playing with the Mets now.”

Dykstra was deluged with questions about Lenny Dykstra in 2011, when the Mets acquired him from his hometown San Diego Padres in a trade for pitcher Eddie Kunz.

The 6-foot-5-inch redhead was shipped to Double-A Binghamton, where he first played under Las Vegas manager Wally Backman, Lenny Dykstra’s teammate on the 1986 World Series champion Mets.

“Everyone was like, ‘Oh, Wally and your dad were best friends,’ ” Dykstra said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, not so much.’ ”

Lenny Dykstra, who served more than a year in prison for bankruptcy fraud and auto theft before getting released in June, has three sons — Cutter, Luke and Gavin.

Cutter Dykstra, a Washington Nationals farmhand, was drafted in the second round by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008, when Allan Dykstra was picked in the first round by the Padres.

Wearing the same name and number (9) on their backs, the players met at first base during an exhibition game the following spring.

“He made it to first and I said, ‘It’s nice to finally meet the person people think I am,’ ” Allan said.

Besides the surname, there aren’t many similarities between Lenny Dykstra — the hard-nosed dirtbag who always had a wad of tobacco stuffed in his cheek — and Allan Dykstra, the fun-loving San Diego native who doesn’t chew tobacco.

One thing they do have in common is the ability to hit.

Dykstra is off to a sizzling start in his first Triple-A season. He was named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week on Monday and entered Saturday leading the league in slugging percentage (.788) and second in batting (.423) and on-base percentage (.545).

He also has three home runs and leads the team in RBIs (21). On Saturday, Dykstra drew a bases-loaded walk in the 51s’ five-run first inning and was 1-for-4 in an 11-3 win over the Tacoma Rainiers before a crowd of 7,788 at Cashman Field.

“He knows how to hit,” Backman said. “Right now I would tell him (his defense) at first base is probably not good enough at the major league level. But his bat plays.

“He’s got big-time power, he knows the strike zone and he can hit major league pitching. There’s no question about that.”

Dykstra hit .274 and set career highs in homers (21) and RBIs (82) while drawing 102 walks last season for Binghamton en route to earning Eastern League Most Valuable Player honors.

“Last year really put in my head that I was ready for the next level,” he said. “My confidence is back that I can compete with anybody in this game.”

Dykstra said his belief in himself was further bolstered in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he played well before breaking his ankle in November. That injury, coupled with avascular necrosis in his hip — the same condition that led to the end of Bo Jackson’s career and one Dykstra has dealt with since his freshman year of high school — has limited his mobility at first.

“I’m always looking to get better as a first baseman,” he said. “I’m out there grinding, doing the best I can. It’s something I have to work on to be a well-rounded player.”

Now he just needs to find a way to let people know he’s not related to Nails. Maybe he can adopt the nickname “No Relation.”

“I thought about putting that in the program to spare everybody asking me,” he said, smiling. “I think it would clear the air if it got announced at games, in my first at-bat. ‘Now batting, not related to Lenny Dykstra.’ ”

■ NOTE — Catcher Taylor Teagarden hit his team-leading fourth and fifth homers to help the PCL-leading 51s (18-5) to their sixth straight win and 12th in 14 games. He hit a three-run homer in the first inning and a two-run shot in the sixth.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33.

 

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