MLB: New York Mets' Pitcher R.A. Dickey Starts off Strong in Spring Training

Joseph SudbergContributor IMarch 2, 2011

R.A. Dickey
R.A. DickeyAndrew Burton/Getty Images

Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey had a breakout year in 2010.  

With Johan Santana not available until the midway point of the season, his continued success is a key for the 2011 New York Mets.

So far so good, as he fared well in his first spring training start.

Dickey breezed through the first inning, getting the first two hitters to ground out, then striking out Albert Pujols.  

In the top of the second inning, he got the first two batters to fly out to the outfield, then a ground out by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.

He started the third inning by striking out the first batter, but then proved he was human by letting up a double hit by Ramon Vasquez. Pitching with a man on base for the first time, Dickey stepped up and struck out the next hitter, leaving a man on second with two outs.  

Dickey had a mini-unraveling, allowing back to back hits by Jon Jay and Colby Rasmus. With two men on and two out, he again struck out Pujols to end the inning and end his day on the mound.

Dickey pitched three innings, allowing a run on three hits with four strikeouts and has kept Met fans believing he can be an important part of this year's pitching staff.

Dickey made his Major League debut in 2001 and has been a journeyman. The Mets are the fourth team he has pitched for since 2006.  

In 2010, Dickey finished 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA, which was 10th best in all of baseball.  

He was one of the lone bright spots for the Mets last season and is trying to become a dependable starter in the Major Leagues.