DUNEDIN, Fla. — The knuckleball fraternity was in full force for Monday’s game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.
NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey gave up two runs and four hits in his Toronto spring training debut while fellow knuckleballer Steven Wright pitched two scoreless innings for a Boston split squad in a 4-2 win over the Blue Jays.
“You don’t see that too often,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said of seeing two starters tossing knucklers.
Wright, a minor leaguer, gave up two hits and struck out three. Former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who is working with Wright, was at the game.
“Just a little nervous because you want to do your best in general, but to have guys with the keen eye for the knuckleball (watching),” Wright said. “But once I got out there I felt pretty good.”
Wright and Dickey have communicated by phone and text in the past. Wright sent a message to Dickey when he arrived for Monday’s game.
“He texted me right before the game,” Dickey said. “There just wasn’t time to connect, so I’ll have to connect with him, hopefully, when he pitches in the big leagues for the Red Sox.”
Dickey was planning to text his Boston counterpart postgame.
“I think he pitched really well,” Dickey said. “I’m pulling for him, of course. I know how hard it is.”
Both pitchers seek advice from Wakefield. Dickey said he faced Wakefield a couple times as a reliever in games the former Red Sox standout started.
“He always has a good insight, so it’s good to get with him when I can, especially to see me pitch live,” Dickey said. “He can tell me if he sees something that’s out of whack or not.”