Toronto Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will start the World Baseball Classic opener for the United States against Mexico on Friday at Chase Field in Arizona.
Joe Torre, the former Yankees and Dodgers skipper who will manage the American squad, made the announcement on Monday.
Dickey, who became the first knuckleballer to win the Cy Young Award with the New York Mets last season, by rule, will be limited to 65 pitches in the first round even though knuckleball pitchers have rubber arms.
By World Baseball Classic rules, “starters can only throw 65 pitches in the first round, 80 in the second round and 95 in the semifinals (March 17-18) or final (March 19) at AT&T Park in San Francisco.”
This is the third World Baseball Classic. Japan won the previous two.
As can be seen in this schedule, the U.S. is in the same pool as Mexico, Canada and Italy. The four teams play a round robin schedule, and the top two teams advance to the next round.