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Blue Jays' Dickey pleased to be on a normal pattern

KISSIMMEE — Halfway through his six spring training appearances, RHP R.A. Dickey feels like an old pitcher with a new beginning.

"It's like getting to start over and do it the right way. You feel like you're getting a chance to reboot," Dickey said Sunday after pitching five shutout innings for the Blue Jays in a 4-3 loss to the Astros. "It makes you somewhat regret not being able to invest the time that was really needed last year."

Dickey's first spring with Toronto was interrupted by the World Baseball Classic. A year after winning the NL Cy Young Award with the Mets, he had a 5.18 ERA through May.

"You don't know that in the moment, and you're getting to do a really fantastic honor," he recalled, "but having spent a lot of time with my guys on the team and getting to prepare my body, (this spring) just feels normal."

Dickey threw 82 pitches in five innings in his third spring start, giving up four hits and a walk while striking out four. He plans to get up to 95-100 pitches in his next two starts, then perhaps dial it back for his final spring outing before pitching in the season-opening series at Tampa Bay.

LOW BAR: Asked about the diminished expectations for the Blue Jays this season, Dickey deadpanned: "I think we're terrible, and I don't want anybody to take us seriously. I think because of last year, we're probably going to get walked all over every game."

Yankees: Phelps sharp

TAMPA — RHP David Phelps boosted his bid to become the Yankees' fifth starter with five scoreless innings in the 3-3 10-inning tie with the Rays.

Phelps, who gave up three hits and struck out one, is competing with RHPs Michael Pineda and Adam Warren and LHP Vidal Nuno for the final rotation spot behind LHP CC Sabathia and RHPs Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Tanaka and Ivan Nova. The right-hander has been touched for two runs over 9⅔ innings in three spring starts.

"Aggressive in the strike zone," manager Joe Girardi said. "Got quick outs. Outstanding job."

TRAINING ROOM: INF Brendan Ryan (lower back) is scheduled to be evaluated Tuesday and could play later in the week. "Being cautious, to say the least," Ryan said.

Phils: Manship impresses

FORT MYERS — RHP Jeff Manship is making a strong bid to be a part of the Phillies starting rotation.

Manship gave up a first-inning run on Joe Mauer's single but still managed to turn in three solid innings for the Phillies in a 1-1 tie with Minnesota. In seven innings this spring, the former Twin has allowed one run.

"(Sunday) was a good test, coming in here to pitch against my old team and keeping my emotions in check," Manship said. "I was happy with how things went."

Manship, who had a 7.04 ERA in 11 appearances with the Rockies last season, is in the running to be Philadelphia's No. 5 starter.

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Blue Jays' Dickey pleased to be on a normal pattern 03/09/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 9, 2014 9:32pm]

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