Dickey underwent offseason knee surgery

Knuckleballer says he worked through issue during 2015 season

Dickey underwent offseason knee surgery

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The offseason took on a different tone this year for Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, as he spent the first two months recovering from surgery on his right knee.

Dickey revealed the news Sunday afternoon, which was the first day pitchers and catchers were required to report for Spring Training. He needed the procedure to repair a torn ligament in his knee and faced a recovery time of four to six weeks.

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The veteran right-hander said the knee had become a lingering issue last year and that he wanted to get the area cleaned up during the offseason. That delayed his workouts, but Dickey said everything feels great and he doesn't anticipate any problems this spring.

"I had a knee issue that I tried to work through all year and ended up getting fixed at the end of the season," said Dickey, who went 11-11 with a 3.91 ERA in 2015. "My offseason was much more about trying to get to a bit of a lighter weight, get my knee strong, things like that, to be able to endure another 200-plus inning season."

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Despite last season's injury, Dickey was able to toss more than 200 innings for the fifth consecutive year. More of the same will be expected in 2016, with his ability to maintain a heavy workload even more crucial following the departures of David Price and Mark Buehrle.

Toronto's rotation has experience with Dickey, Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ leading the way, but the presence of younger pitchers such as Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez does increase the need for a veteran who can consistently eat up a lot of innings.

Dickey has been able to do that virtually every year since 2010, and even though the offseason was different this year, he doesn't see any reason why a similar innings count can't be expected in '16.

"It was basically a four-to-six week recovery," said Dickey, who is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday morning. "That's what they always tell you, but for me, it turned out to be a real blessing because I had to focus on getting my body right in a way that I really haven't had to do in a long time because I've always been pretty healthy. Watching what I eat and really working on some big muscle things around my injury has helped. I feel great."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.