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Blue Jays catcher Arencibia says he wants to catch Dickey

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The Canadian Press
2/11/2013 4:41:45 PM
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DUNEDIN, Fla. -- J.P. Arencibia says he is looking forward to catching knuckleballer R.A. Dickey this season.

The Blue Jays also acquired catchers Henry Blanco, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas, who have all handled Dickey in the past.

But, contrary to other assumptions, incumbent Arencibia says he wants to be at the other end of the Dickey floater.

"Our manager and Alex (GM Alex Anthopoulos) have talked to me and told me from the beginning that they want me to catch him," he told reporters Monday.

Arencibia and Dickey both live in Nashville and have been working out together in the off-season.

"At the beginning it was tough, it's not an easy pitch to adjust to," said Arencibia. "But then as of late, over the last week and a half, we've been real comfortable. We've been able to work on different hitters, how he's going to attack guys. We simulated some hitters and I was able to catch him well.

"So I'm comfortable and I'm ready to be able to do it in a game."

Manager John Gibbons was leaving his options open.

"That's his goal. He wants to be that guy. And we'll see how that all plays out," he told reporters when asked about it. "But we brought those other guys in specifically for that purpose.

"But he's going to go with him (Dickey) to the WBC (World Baseball Classic) and we'll see how that all works. The organization is counting on J.P for being the catcher here for a number of years so eventually he's going to have to catch him. We'll see. This game, things always have a way of working out. But I'm glad he's working so hard at it."

As for Dickey, he welcomed Arencibia's enthusiasm to catch him.

"I think that's a window into J.P. as a human. I think he wants to be the best regardless if he's catching a knuckleballer or catching (Ricky) Romero or (Mark) Buehrle or (Josh) Johnson or being a hitter, he works. And he knows that this game does not come easy.

"And if I'm given the privilege of being the opening day starter, I doubt that he wants to be on the bench for opening day. So he's working his tail off to try to figure it out and he's doing a heck of a job so far. And I only anticipate him getting better."

Thole got to know Dickey's knuckleball at the Mets.

"It's a challenge. It's a challenge every day but that's the fun part of catching him," he said,

"You have to see a lot of it and even then you're still not going to be completely comfortable with it," he added.

Dickey's knuckleball is all the more difficult to handle because he throws it harder than most practitioners of the pitch.

J.P. Arencibia (Photo: Abelimages/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Abelimages/Getty Images)
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