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Dickey preps for distance in Minors outing

Dickey preps for distance in Minors outing

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- R.A. Dickey appears ready to go the distance.

The knuckleballer threw 102 pitches over eight innings on Friday at the Blue Jays' Minor League complex in a game against Philadelphia Phillies Minor Leaguers.

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The Blue Jays' right-hander is not sure of how many runs he allowed -- there was a home run hit by Delmon Young -- but Dickey was delighted with the outing and feels that it will set him up nicely as he prepares for the Opening Day start on April 2.

"It was a great day for me," Dickey said. "Great in the sense that I threw eight innings. I felt fantastic, threw 102 pitches. I got better as the game went on, felt strong in the later innings. It was a good day for me. I struggled kind of early with the feel of my knuckleball. I was able to get through that and capture a good one over the next six innings. I think I gave up a few runs in the first couple of innings and then I think I might have given up two hits in the last six innings."

On a regular day, Dickey said he would have pitched a complete game.

It was Dickey's second outing in a Minor League game since returning from a stint with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Former New York Mets teammate Henry Blanco has been the catcher both times, leading to speculation that he might become Dickey's personal catcher, but manager John Gibbons said on Friday that a final decision has not been made. Dickey and Blanco combined on a two-inning outing on Tuesday.

"He did fantastic today, I don't think he missed a ball," Dickey said. "We threw a guy out, picked a guy off and he threw a guy out on a delayed steal. He was great."

Dickey said the outing gave him a bit of everything, including a 24-pitch first inning that was prolonged by "an error or two."

"I got to feel what a prolonged inning felt like, which is a great exercise," Dickey said. "My last time out we hit for a long time, and so for my eighth inning I sat for a while and I got to experience what that was like. So now when it happens it won't be a surprise and my body knows what it feels like to do that. It was a great day for me on a lot of different counts. I was pleased with it."

On a scale of one to 10, Dickey said his knuckleball was about a seven.

"I can win with a seven," he said.

Larry Millson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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