Phillips, Garcia and Dickey look forward to chance to contribute
By Zak Kerr
Special to MLB.com |
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Even with more than 31 combined years of Major League service time, second baseman Brandon Phillips, right-hander R.A. Dickey and left-hander Jaime Garcia relished their first opportunity to face live batting practice opponents as members of the Braves.
"That's when you really know Spring Training's starting up and it's getting heated," Phillips said. "It's good just to see some live pitching."
The Braves spared no time in getting Phillips and Garcia to face each other, a matchup that has been seen numerous times throughout their years spent with the Reds and Cardinals.
"He's one of the best pitchers I've faced," Phillips said. "I don't know how I have success off him. I just hit his mistakes, but when he's healthy, he can be one of the best pitchers in baseball, and I'm happy that I can call him my teammate.
"It was just the timing, the different arm slots and seeing the different pitches, different guys; left-handed, right-handed," Phillips said. "But the thing is, I've faced these guys so many times over the years, so ... I felt like playing a game. That's why it just felt weird to me facing these guys, and I'm not used to seeing them all the time."
"You just want to make sure your body's feeling right and [the ball is] feeling good out of your hand," Dickey said. "That's all I cared about today. ... I'm no less excited than I ever am to play baseball."
Dickey said his body has been responding well in his age-42 season. He was pleased with the feel for his knuckleball relative to this point in Spring Training.
Catcher Kurt Suzuki and starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, the Braves' other offseason veteran acquisitions, did not participate in live batting practice.
Zak Kerr is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.