Dickey gets acclimated to Rogers Centre mound

Dickey gets acclimated to Rogers Centre mound

TORONTO -- R.A. Dickey put himself through a light throwing program on Sunday to get acclimated with the mound at Rogers Centre.

Dickey arrived in Toronto along with the rest of his teammates on Saturday night in advance of Tuesday's Opening Day game versus the Indians.

Toronto's ace will get the start in the evening matchup, but he wanted to get a feel for his surroundings before taking the mound in front of a sold-out crowd.

"The reason that I'm here is imminent," said Dickey, who went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA last season. "To get to stand on the mound and kind of get comfortable with my surroundings, it was a real treat to get to do.

"You don't often get the chance to pitch off the game mound before you get on it for real, but that was necessary for me just to get comfortable with the climate with the roof closed. It was special and it left me anticipating a very fun night."

Dickey has the added benefit of having pitched in two domes this spring. The veteran right-hander started at Chase Field in Arizona and Marlins Park in Miami while competing for Team USA in the recent World Baseball Classic.

In many ways, that was a perfect tuneup for his outing at Rogers Centre. It's expected to be an energetic crowd, and while having the roof closed should make the atmosphere that much louder, it also has the potential as an added benefit to the knuckleballer.

Dickey has performed well in controlled pitching environments during his career. He has a 1.72 ERA in 52 2/3 innings indoors during the past three seasons since becoming one of the more reliable pitchers in the big leagues.

"I think the obvious answer is that it is a controlled environment," Dickey said of the benefits. "The climate's not an issue, you don't have to worry about wind gusts, you don't have to worry about rain and moisture. It's usually the same temperature ... The conditions you don't have to worry about.

"I usually have fairly good numbers inside of domes. Here in particular, going off yesterday's knuckleball on a game mound and the conditions there were here yesterday, I was very encouraged. I'm not going to make any predictions, but it felt good coming out of my hand and that's a good sign."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.