Dickey to have personal catcher this season
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Manager John Gibbons confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that the Blue Jays will provide knuckleballer R.A. Dickey with his own personal catcher this season.
There had been some debate whether Toronto would alternate using J.P. Arencibia and either Josh Thole or Henry Blanco when Dickey was on the mound, but that notion has now come to an end.
With Dickey's unique style of pitching, Gibbons feels as though it's important to have a consistent presence behind the plate.
"They have to get the [side sessions] in, they have to spend a lot of time working with Dickey, because it's an unusual and unique pitch," Gibbons said. "It takes a lot of work."
That would seem to indicate the Blue Jays aren't going to use Arencibia in games that Dickey starts. Thole caught Dickey last season, while Blanco also crossed paths with the veteran starter in 2010.
But Arencibia still has time to prove he can handle the workload. He's set to join Dickey with Team USA at the upcoming World Baseball Classic in March and has been working with him during recent bullpen sessions.
The 26-year-old Arencibia has made no secret about his desire to catch the 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner, but Arencibia said he'll ultimately embrace whatever decision the club opts to make.
"The thing is, it's really not about me, it's not about R.A., it's really not about anybody else but the team," Arencibia said. "That's the concept of it, whatever the best chances of it are that day. There's a lot that goes with catching a knuckleballer, too.
"I understand no one catches 162 games and there's a time for a blow, and if I'm not that guy, I'm going to be playing every other day. It's not an issue for me. It's just about the team. Obviously you want to play every day. I've expressed that, but I know I can't catch every game."