February 11, 2013
R.A. Dickey makes first throws as a Blue Jay
By KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey works out at the team's spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla., on Feb. 11, 2013. (Fred Thornhill/Reuters)

R.A. Dickey was ready to make his first throws in a Blue Jays uniform. Just a game of catch. A bit of long-toss on the grass in the outfield.

But, amazingly, catchers had become suspiciously scarce. Weren’t there a couple of the young receivers hanging around just a minute ago? Somebody? Anybody?

“All of a sudden, it was just Dane (Johnson, the club’s minor league pitching instructor) and me,” said manager John Gibbons a bit later.

Johnson drew the short straw. He has caught many a pitcher in his day but never a knuckleballer. On this day, he was brave in the attempt.

For about 10 minutes, Johnson danced and deked and dove almost like the nasty, spinless orb he was trying to catch. “You can’t lose focus, not for a second,” he said.

In the end, he got the ultimate compliment from Dickey.



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