Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey likes feedback and he got plenty of it from the batting cage Sunday as Toronto hitters faced live pitching for the first time this spring.
There were sighs, laughs, gasps and some wild swings as last year's National League Cy Young Award winner worked his magic on a chilly, windy 10-degree day during a live batting practice session.
"After you throw a good one, it does some funny things so you get some good reactions," said the 38-year-old Dickey.
Spring training has just started, but the former New York Mets ace is already befuddling batters.
"I think most of the hitters will tell you, they were in there and halfway through their swing I think they were laughing," said pitching coach Pete Walker. "Because they just realized they had no chance today.
[. . .]
Dickey had Brett Lawrie talking to himself at the plate as he tried to make sense of the knuckleball, not to mention Dickey's other pitches.
After working him over repeatedly with his 75 miles-per-hour knuckleball, Dickey threw a fastball past the Canadian.
"If a guy has tracked 10 or 11 knuckleballs in a row and then you throw a fastball in there, it's a whole different animal," Dickey said. "It looks a lot harder than it really is so you can kind of play with the optical illusion from time to time."
The good news for Blue Jays fans is that there is more to come.