Braves push Dickey's '17 debut to Saturday

Braves push Dickey's '17 debut to Saturday

NEW YORK -- With inclement weather predicted for the Pittsburgh area on Friday, the Braves decided to have knuckleballer R.A. Dickey wait an additional day to make his season debut.

Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz is now scheduled to start against the Pirates at PNC Park on Friday afternoon, with Dickey on tap to start the middle game of the three-game set on Saturday night -- but Mother Nature could force further adjustments.

There is a threat of snow in the Pittsburgh area for Friday morning, and the projected first-pitch temperature will be approximately 40 degrees. If the Pirates postpone the home opener and play a doubleheader on Saturday, Foltynewicz and Dickey would get the starts.

Whatever the case, Dickey will find it much easier to get a feel for his knuckleball on Saturday, when afternoon temperatures in Pittsburgh are expected to rise closer to 60 degrees.

"It's really hard to hold that [knuckleball] in those conditions, because I have to hold it with my fingernails, and when it's cold I can't feel the tips of my fingers," Dickey said. "It feels gnarly. So I just wanted to be honest with them, and I always want to give the Atlanta Braves the best chance to win."

Foltynewicz was certainly open to the change, which has set up the possibility that he could take the mound on Friday with just one additional day of rest.

"I've been itching a little bit to get in there," Foltynewicz said. "One day doesn't really change anything. I'm just excited to get out there and face some real hitters."

With two off-days scheduled next week, the Braves could again flip-flop these pitchers to allow the flame-throwing Foltynewicz to consistently pitch the day after opponents are challenged by Dickey's knuckleball.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.