Dickey: Don't worry, Tony
July, 6, 2012
By Mike Mazzeo | ESPNNewYork.com
R.A. Dickey understands why Tony La Russa is concerned.
The 37-year-old knuckleballer just doesn’t think his National League All-Star manager should be.
La Russa said he is considering starting Dickey in Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Kansas City, but didn’t know if he ultimately would because none of the catchers on the roster -- Buster Posey, Yadier Molina and Carlos Ruiz -- are acclimated to catching the unconventional right-hander.
“That’s a logical concern, but not one that I feel overly concerned about, because I’ve come up with new guys catching all the time,” Dickey said after giving up a career-high-tying 11 hits -- along with five runs -- over seven innings and getting a no-decision in the Mets’ 6-5 walk-off victory over the Phillies on Thursday. “And you’re talking about a caliber of player at the All-Star Game that’s really good. All those guys are really good athletes and good catchers. I don’t anticipate them having a problem.”
Dickey was asked how long he thinks it would take for a new catcher to become accustomed to catching his knuckleball.
“Maybe, depending on the guy, it could be from the get-go,” he replied. “But I’d say probably 20 or so pitches in a bullpen session.”
Dickey plans on helping out the catchers by bringing a larger glove.
“Sure. I’ll come equipped, so that whoever catches me will feel comfortable with a bigger mitt,” he said. “That’s the way to go, that’s for sure.”
Josh Thole was asked how long it took him to get comfortable catching Dickey’s knuckleball.
“I’ve been doing it for three years,” Thole said. “No question, it’s a challenge. That’s how it is, but you play catch with him and warm him up in the bullpen, and these guys are the best of the best. They’re gonna be fine.”
Dickey (12-1, 2.40 ERA) didn’t have his usual dominant stuff against the Phillies. But the Mets rallied in the ninth against Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon, allowing Dickey’s career-best 10-decision winning streak to remain intact.
David Wright, who has emerged as an NL MVP candidate, blooped in the game-winning single with two outs. It was Wright’s seventh career game-ending hit and first since Aug. 7, 2008 (a home run). The third baseman finished with three hits -- including a homer -- and four RBIs.
“Baseball’s just a fantastic game. The storyline goes from Dickey stinks to Wright’s the best, and it’s just fantastic. What a fun game,” Dickey said.
“I didn’t have my best knuckleball tonight. I was stinky for a few innings. But I fought as hard as I could as we all did, and you saw the result.”
• Thole was not upset that the Phillies' Mike Fontenot barreled into him while trying to score in the eighth inning, and didn’t think it was a dirty play.
“He had nowhere to go,” Thole said.