JJ, Dickey solid in Blue Jays spring debuts
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays got an up-close look at two of their biggest offseason additions on Monday afternoon as R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson made their spring debuts.
Dickey was charged with two runs over two innings of work, while Johnson made a rare relief appearance and tossed a pair of scoreless frames.
The two eventually will be separated to work on their own schedules, but for now, the club is making sure Dickey is appropriately lined up for next month's World Baseball Classic.
Dickey surrendered four hits and a walk, but his results have to be taken with a grain of salt, considering it was his first outing and there was a strong wind blowing in.
"The last 18 inches of [the knuckleball] is flight, and so if there is wind at your back, it is pushing it into the catcher's mitt before it can make that last little finish," Dickey said. "You're losing maybe one subtle break that either causes him to swing and miss or causes him to weakly hit a ball.
"In three years, I've probably had three or four times that the wind has been at my back. Usually, it's blowing out. That's how the fields are made, but you have to learn to do that."
Johnson struggled with his control early, but he allowed just one hit while striking out two. He threw 19 of his 31 pitches for strikes and was able to use his full repertoire of pitches.
The club's No. 4 starter was able to command his changeup while displaying an impressive slider and a decent curveball for a spring debut. Johnson even used the opportunity to work on a back-door sinker to left-handed hitters, which is something he hasn't done in the past.
"Same as my other sinker, but just locating it on [the left] side of the plate," Johnson said. "For me, it's hard, because I'm on the third-base side of the rubber. So, getting it all the way over there and sticking it in there, it's going to be a little tough.
"Guys on the first-base side have a little easier time getting it there because it's not going as far."