Okay, now I kind of feel bad for any bad remarks I made after R.A. Dickey’s start in Game 4 of the ALCS. Dickey couldn’t even escape the second inning of that game; it turns out he had a pretty good excuse.
R.A. Dickey did as many professional athletes often do; they get hurt and try to keep things quiet as possible for the greater good of the team.
A few weeks ago, we learned that Dickey underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. I think most people had this exact same reaction: “Wait … Dickey had a torn meniscus?”
To explain further, R. A. Dickey spoke on Sportsnet 590’s Dean Blundell and Company and revealed he actually pitched through an injury for most of the 2015 season:
“I had a meniscus surgery in the offseason; I had hurt my knee about the fifth start of the year last year and just played with a torn meniscus the rest of the year. I was able to take care of that in the offseason and kind of re-train my body a little bit.
But I had put on some weight during the season because I couldn’t do much cardiovascularly on my lower half. Through the grind of 162 games, I had put on about 10 unwanted pounds.”
Going by Dickey’s timeline, he may have gotten hurt during his fifth start of the season on April 29th at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox. And yet he continued to make another 28 starts the remainder of the season, plus a pair in the playoffs.
Judging by his stats alone, you’d never guess R.A. Dickey was playing with a torn meniscus. He limited opponents to a .243 batting average and pitched to a 3.43 ERA from May to October. Those numbers are pretty much on pace with his career norms.
His overall 2.07 K/BB ratio in 2015 was one of the best of his career, and Dickey’s home run rate was about the same as well.
For whatever reason, 2015 was the year of the torn meniscus as Michael Saunders suffered the same injury in Spring Training, but in a much more bizarre fashion.
Dickey also spoke to Melissa Couto of the Canadian Press and recalled how bad his injury really was. However, the Blue Jays hid it very well.
“There were days where I’d come in after a start and my knee would be the size of your head. I would be like: ‘Well, we gotta get that out of there someway and [Blue Jays head athletic trainer] George Poulis was able to do it.”
The fact that Dickey and the Blue Jays were able to keep this quiet is pretty remarkable. It’s a testament not only to how resilient these baseball players really are, but also the quality of the Blue Jays’ training staff.
Image via Getty Images Sport/Tom Szczerbowski