ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves have declined their $8 million option on 42-year-old knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and exercised their $4 million option on catcher Tyler Flowers.
Dickey was the Braves' most consistent starter this season, going 10-10 with a 4.26 ERA in 31 starts. He said at the end of the season he will meet with his family before deciding whether he wants to pitch in 2018.
He gets a $500,000 buyout and becomes eligible for free agency.
The knuckleball has always been a bit of oddball — the butt of jokes, the object of endless curiosity, a talismanic pitch understood by only a few.
It could soon be extinct in the big leagues.
What a shame that would be.
As the regular season ends and we begin the road to the World Series, it's worth noting that knuckleballer extraordinaire R.A. Dickey — the guy who largely carried on the legacy of this most unusual of pitches — might've taken the mound for the final time.
ATLANTA (AP) — R.A. Dickey isn't sure he'll be back with Atlanta in 2018, or even still pitching in the majors, so he took a minute to savor what he said could be the final home start of his career.
The 42-year-old's knuckleball cooperated for a memorable night.
Dickey frustrated Washington with his knuckler for eight innings, Ozzie Albies had three hits and the Braves beat the Nationals 3-2 on Thursday night.
ATLANTA (AP) — Through five innings, R.A. Dickey's knuckleball looked almost unhittable.
The Reds changed that perception quickly with a sudden barrage of home runs.
Cincinnati hit three homers in the sixth, including a two-run shot by Adam Duvall , Sal Romano threw seven strong innings and the Reds beat Dickey and the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Friday night.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Brandon Phillips knows what to expect from Cardinals fans.
"Oh yeah, it's nice for Boo Phillips to come back to St. Louis, man," Phillips said. "That's the name they really gave me. I love playing here. The fans here are great."
Phillips hit a two-run homer to back R.A. Dickey, and the Atlanta Braves stopped the Cardinals' season-high, eight-game winning streak with a 6-3 victory Sunday.
ATLANTA (AP) — R.A. Dickey is glad he doesn't have to face Giancarlo Stanton too often.
Dickey won for the first time in seven starts, Nick Markakis hit a three-run homer and the Atlanta Braves overcame Stanton's two home runs to beat the Miami Marlins 5-3 on Friday night.
"I had done a pretty good job of keeping him in the yard for about six years, so he was probably due," Dickey said. "He's good. He's a specimen. I thought I had a pretty good knuckleball otherwise."
ATLANTA (AP) — The Cubs believe Kris Bryant won't miss a prolonged period of time after he suffered a sprained left little finger that forced him to leave the Chicago Cubs' game against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.
The Cubs say X-rays on Bryant were negative. His status is day to day and he will be monitored.
"I think he's doing fine," said manager Joe Maddon. "... I don't have any final conclusions but I think we really kind of dodged the bullet right there."
WASHINGTON (AP) — Atlanta starter R.A. Dickey silenced Washington for seven innings Friday night. Once he was gone, though, the Nationals uncorked one of their biggest rallies of the season.
Daniel Murphy's one-out RBI single in the 10th inning capped Washington's 5-4 comeback victory over the Braves.
It was the 21st come-from-behind victory for the Nationals this season, and the second time they won when trailing after eight innings.
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
ATLANTA (AP) — Brandon Phillips is thriving in his Atlanta homecoming. He's motivated to make it last as long as possible.
Phillips gave Atlanta the lead with a two-run homer in the third to continue his productive homestand, R.A. Dickey threw seven strong innings and the surging Braves beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 on Saturday.
ATLANTA (AP) — R.A. Dickey knew he was close, even if the results didn't show it.
He was right.
Dickey threw seven scoreless innings in his strongest outing of the season, Matt Adams hit another homer and the Atlanta Braves sent the San Francisco Giants to their seventh straight loss, a 9-0 rout Monday night.
The 42-year-old Dickey (5-5) escaped a jam in the first but wound up surrendering just three hits. The knuckleballer retired 16 of the last 17 hitters he faced, including 13 in a row.
WASHINGTON (AP) — All the Washington Nationals needed to escape a four-game slide Tuesday night was slugger Ryan Zimmerman.
Zimmerman returned from back soreness to hit his 18th and 19th homers and tie a career franchise record, and the Nationals scored five runs in the sixth inning off R.A. Dickey to end their skid with a 10-5 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
ATLANTA (AP) — From his view in left field, Matt Kemp saw a succession of awkward hacks from Philadelphia's hitters.
Wasn't hard to figure out why — R.A. Dickey's knuckleball was in top form.
Dickey allowed only three hits in seven innings to earn his first win in five weeks and lead the Atlanta Braves over Ben Lively and the Phillies 3-1 on Thursday night.
"You saw a lot of ugly swings," Kemp said. "That meant his ball was moving."
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The blisters on Johnny Cueto's middle and index fingers that limited his effectiveness in his last few starts haven't yet completely healed.
But the two-time All-Star is learning to pitch with them.
Cueto threw six strong innings and Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Sunday.
Cueto (5-4) bounced back from his roughest stretch as a Giant. He was 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA in his previous four starts.
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
Kurt Suzuki had three passed balls in his first game catching knuckleballer R.A. Dickey for Atlanta this season, but committed just one in Dickey's next eight starts. Dickey (3-3) makes his 10th start for the Braves in the series finale in San Francisco against Johnny Cueto (4-4) and the Giants.
A look at what's happening all around the majors Sunday:
Kurt Suzuki had three passed balls in his first game catching knuckleballer R.A. Dickey for Atlanta this season but committed just one in Dickey's next eight starts. Dickey (3-3) makes his 10th start for the Braves in the series finale in San Francisco against Johnny Cueto (4-4) and the Giants.
MIAMI (AP) — Party music blared from the Miami Marlins' postgame clubhouse as Tyler Moore talked about his game-changing home run, which gave the team a victory to celebrate for the first time all week.
Moore connected for a pinch-hit three-run homer against R.A. Dickey in the seventh inning, and Miami broke a five-game losing streak by beating the Atlanta Braves 3-1 Sunday.
ATLANTA (AP) — The Launching Pad has been reborn, much to the dismay of R.A. Dickey and other Atlanta Braves pitchers.
The Braves' most recent homestand provided more evidence that new SunTrust Park is a great place to play — if you're a hitter.
Sure, the season is still young, but Dickey says "It's a fact that the ball seems to be carrying here so far."
The ball seems to be carrying especially well for Braves' opposing hitters.
ATLANTA (AP) — R.A. Dickey claims he hasn't had a consistently good knuckleball through any start this season.
The 42-year-old Dickey has still been good enough for two straight wins over Matt Harvey and the Mets.
Dickey's floaters were more effective than Matt Harvey's fastballs for the second time in a week, Ender Inciarte drove in three runs with three hits and the Atlanta Braves beat New York 9-7 on Tuesday night.
NEW YORK (AP) — When last on the mound at Citi Field, R.A. Dickey beat Pittsburgh in September 2012 to become the first knuckleballer in 32 years with a 20-win season.
Traded from the Mets to Toronto less than three months later after winning the NL Cy Young Award, Dickey had not pitched in the ballpark again until Thursday when he was slated to face Noah Syndgergaard, one of the players New York acquired from the Blue Jays in the deal.
A look at what's happening around the majors today:
Chris Sale (1-1, 0.91 ERA) brings his impressive numbers against the Yankees to the mound when the Red Sox host New York in the finale of a series shortened by rain. The lefty is 4-1 with a 1.17 ERA in his career vs. the Yankees, the lowest ERA against them for any pitcher with at least 50 innings since earned runs became a stat in 1912. Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (2-1, 6.00) goes for New York.
ATLANTA (AP) — Ryan Zimmerman has faced R.A. Dickey enough to know what to expect from his knuckleball.
"I don't want to say it's comfortable because when he's got a good one going it's not easy," he said. "Having faced him a few times before, you at least know what to expect."
Zimmerman hit a two-run homer, Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 and the Washington Nationals completed a three-game sweep with a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.
ATLANTA (AP) — After giving up a home run on his only curveball, R.A. Dickey went back to his knuckleball. He knows that pitch is the reason he's still in the major leagues at age 42.
Winless at Turner Field, Dickey got a victory in his first appearance at SunTrust Park as the Atlanta Braves beat the San Diego Padres 4-2 Saturday night behind home runs from Brandon Phillips and Adonis Garcia.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Clint Hurdle's advice to his players on how to handle R.A. Dickey's dancing, darting knuckleball was pretty simple: don't overthink it and don't try to be a hero.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — The Atlanta Braves were ready to add some more experience to their starting rotation — and boy, did they succeed.
Bartolo Colon, the 43-year-old right-hander whose longevity and jovial disposition have turned him into one of the game's fan favorites, joined Atlanta in November. Around the same time, the Braves acquired R.A. Dickey, the 42-year-old knuckleballer who is one of baseball's elder statesmen — but whose big league debut back in 2001 came four years after Colon's.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Eager for a fresh start and armed with a new rotation, the Atlanta Braves started spring training with an air of confidence and optimism, especially for a team coming off a season of 93 losses.
"Hopefully this is not a rebuild," said left fielder Matt Kemp, an early arrival on the day of the first organized workout for pitchers and catchers. "I want to win baseball games. I feel we can go out there and win, especially with these veteran guys we're bringing in."
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves' long-term plan hasn't changed. The future still rests on young pitching.
For next week's start of spring training, however, the Braves' new kids to watch will be 40-something right-handers Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey.
Colon, 43, and Dickey, 42, were signed to one-year deals in November to serve as placeholders for the young pitchers. The team also acquired left-hander Jaime Garcia from St. Louis. The three are expected to join ace Julio Teheran in the rotation.
ATLANTA (AP) — Right-hander Kris Medlen has agreed to a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves as he attempts to revive his career with his original team.
The 31-year-old would get a $1 million, one-year contract if added to the 40-man roster as part of the deal the team confirmed Tuesday.
ATLANTA (AP) — With a new stadium nearing completion right across the street, R.A. Dickey chuckled at the idea of not being the Atlanta Braves' oldest starting pitcher next season.
A mere 42, Dickey will be ceding that honor to 43-year-old Bartolo Colon.
"I gave myself the nickname Little Ugly," Dickey quipped Friday after formally introduced by the Braves in an office tower overlooking SunTrust Park. "Big Sexy and Little Ugly are going to be leading it on."
ATLANTA (AP) — R.A. Dickey was won over by an Atlanta Braves sales team that included two Hall of Famers, including a fellow knuckleballer.
Dickey said he knew the Braves would be a good fit after meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, with a group that included manager Brian Snitker, general manager John Coppolella and two Hall of Famers — former manager Bobby Cox and knuckleballer Phil Niekro.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays have opted for eight relief pitchers on their AL Division Series roster.
Toronto made room for extra relief on the 25-man active roster by making outfielder Dalton Pompey and infielder Ryan Goins inactive for the series against the Texas Rangers that begins Thursday. Marco Estrada starts for the Blue Jays.
R.A. Dickey, the 41-year-old Toronto knuckleballer who began his career in Texas, was left off the playoff roster.
SEATTLE (AP) — Robinson Cano finally quieted the sea of blue-clad Toronto fans that had turned Safeco Field into a home environment for the Blue Jays.
Cano delivered a sacrifice fly in the 12th inning as the Seattle Mariners avoided a sweep with 2-1 victory over Toronto on Wednesday, preventing the Blue Jays from extending their wild card lead.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run homer, R.A. Dickey pitched scoreless ball into the sixth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays stayed atop the AL wild-card race with a 5-0 victory over the freefalling Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
Edwin Encarnacion added a late two-run homer for the Blue Jays (81-66), who stayed even with Baltimore for the league's two wild-card playoff spots. Both teams trail Boston by two games for the AL East lead with 15 to play.
NEW YORK (AP) — Given a quick lead, R.A. Dickey relinquished it in all of three pitches.
Jacoby Ellsbury overcame a first-inning deficit with a two-run homer, then added an RBI single against the knuckleballer to lead the New York Yankees over the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 Monday.
NEW YORK (AP) — Sensing the season's dwindling days, the New York Yankees opened their penultimate homestand by falling behind on Masahiro Tanaka's seventh pitch of a sunny Labor Day afternoon.
Jacoby Ellsbury turned the deficit into a lead on R.A. Dickey's third offering of the day, and New York remained on the periphery of contention for a postseason berth with four weeks remaining.
NEW YORK (AP) — Chad Green struck out 11 in six dominant innings, Aaron Judge delivered again with an RBI double and Dellin Betances escaped a big ninth-inning jam, leading the New York Yankees over the Toronto Blue Jays 1-0 on Monday night.
Betances got major league RBI leader Edwin Encarnacion to ground into a game-ending, around-the-horn double play with runners at the corners.
HOUSTON (AP) — R.A. Dickey's knuckleball was working Tuesday night, and the Blue Jays got just enough offense to pull out a win.
Dickey threw seven solid innings, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion homered and Toronto beat the Houston Astros 2-1.
Dickey (8-12) allowed a run and six hits with five strikeouts.
"A lot of swing and miss," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "He had good life on his knuckleball. It's one of those things that it comes and goes...
TORONTO (AP) — Mariners hitting coach Edgar Martinez is away from the team this weekend so he can watch friend and former teammate Ken Griffey Jr. be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Seattle's batters seem be faring just fine without him.
Hisashi Iwakuma pitched six innings to win his fifth straight start, Nelson Cruz hit his ninth career grand slam and homered twice, and the Mariners matched a season high with 19 hits Saturday in a 14-5 victory over the...
TORONTO (AP) — Having reached the All-Star break, Detroit's Anibal Sanchez is eager to put a difficult first half behind him.
Josh Donaldson hit a three-run homer, R.A. Dickey won back-to-back starts for the first time in a month and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Sanchez and the Tigers 6-1 on Sunday.
Sanchez (5-10) lost his second straight start, allowing five runs and eight hits in four innings. He has lost seven straight decisions as a starter, including five in a...