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Dickey teases Toronto teammate with fastball

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DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) - R.A. Dickey threw a fastball at about 84 mph, freezing Brett Lawrie.

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``Right down the pipe!'' Toronto's third baseman said as a few Blue Jays' teammates around the batting cage laughed.

Known for his knuckleball, Dickey can mix in a fastball not noted for its velocity.

``That can be a weapon, too, if you use it in the right place, if a guy has tracked 10 or 11 knuckleballs in a row,'' he said. ``When you throw a fastball in there, it's a whole different animal. It looks a lot harder than it really is, so you can play with the optical illusion from time to time.''

After going 20-6 and becoming the first knuckleballer to win a Cy Young Award, the 38-year-old right-hander was traded to Toronto by the New York Mets and already has been designated the Blue Jays' opening day starter by manager John Gibbons. Dickey was 41-50 over nine major league seasons entering 2013.

In his first major league start in 2001, he tied a big league record by allowing six home runs. He didn't pitch in the majors again for two years.

``It's a great story,'' Gibbons said. ``He's really come into his own. He's reinvented himself and the knuckleball's made his career. We expect good things out of him for the next few years.''

Dickey will be leaving camp to pitch for the United States at next month's World Baseball Classic, accompanied by Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia.

Dickey threw about 40 pitches and said he could have thrown 100 despite the 49-degree temperature and windy weather.

``The wind is something I pay much more attention to, rather than the cold,'' he said.

AP NEWS
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The Associated Press
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