Why Yanks don't take BP vs. a knuckler

June, 24, 2012
By now, we all the best way to get to Carnegie Hall.


But that is not, it turns out, the best way to get to R.A. Dickey.

According to several Yankees I spoke to tonight, including the two main ones -- the Captain and the Skipper -- no purpose would be served by, say, hiring a guy to throw knucklers in batting practice on the night of the game, even if The Boss routinely used to bring in a flutterballer before his club was to face Tim Wakefield.

"There's no value to it because everyone's knuckleball is different,'' Derek Jeter told me. "And you never know where it's going.''

According to Jeter, the problem is not adjusting to the speed of the knuckleball -- and Dickey throws his knuckleball in the low 80s, harder than most -- but to the side-to-side movement. "You'll figure out the speed after the first couple of pitches,'' Jeter said. "But you'll never figure out the movement because it's never the same twice.''

Girardi said no unusual preparation was planned, or necessary, going into a game against a pitcher with an 11-1 record and 2.00 ERA who has yet to allow an earned run in June.

"I think it's business as usual tonight,'' Girardi said. "You know what you're going to see going in there. If he's on it's going to be difficult to hit, that's the bottom line. It's very similar to facing any other pitchers. You got to look for mistakes.''

To Girardi, the most impressive thing about Dickey this year is neither the W/L record or the ERA. "I think the amazing thing is the amount of strikes he throws with it,'' Girardai said. "It's supposed to a pitch that's hard to control but he seems to have pretty good control of it.''

Dickey has walked just 21 batters in 99 innings, by far the lowest ratio on either starting staff.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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Jacoby Ellsbury
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