DUNEDIN, Fla. - J.P. Arencibia may be the Blue Jays' No. 1 catcher but he isn't a lock to handle R.A. Dickey on opening day or there after, it appears.
Arencibia has said throughout camp that he wants to catch the knuckleballer. And he has worked hard to bolster his claim, working with Dickey in their off-season home of Nashville over the winter.
The Jays, however, also have Henry Blanco and Josh Thole in camp. Both have handled Dickey in the past.
But manager John Gibbons said he won't let the high-profile nature of opening day influence his choice of who catches Dickey.
"That is a big day, it's an exciting day," Gibbons said of the April 2 opener against Cleveland. "But if we're better off with one of the other guys catching, they'll catch him. because we have to think about Dickey right there."
Arencibia and Dickey will get more work together in the weeks ahead at the World Baseball Classic, with both playing for the U.S.
But Gibbons says don't take anything for granted.
"We're going to see how that goes," he said of their collaboration at the WBC. "Whether he's the guy, I don't know. But if it's not him, one of the other two — Blanco or Thole — that will be (Dickey's) guy.
"Because they've got to spend a lot of time working with Dickey, because it's an unusual, unique pitch. It takes a lot of work."
Not using the best catcher at handling a certain pitcher "would be stupid," he added.
Dickey and Gibbons have been diplomatic throughout camp, saying Arencibia's determination to catch the knuckleballer shows his character. But Gibbons' words Wednesday were a clearer indication that it will come down to whoever handles the knuckleball best.
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