MIAMI (AP) — New York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey's best season yet ended with a no-decision and some surprising news: He'll have surgery Oct. 18.
After pitching six innings in a 4-3, 11-inning loss to the Miami Marlins, Dickey revealed he has pitched since mid-April with a strained muscle on the right side of his abdomen. Following the operation, Dickey said, he expects to be ready for the start of spring training.
"The pain can be fairly significant from time to time," he said. "It's part of this game, playing with aches and scrapes and bruises and tears. It happened early this year, but we were able to work through it."
Dickey struck out one-shot wonder Adam Greenberg but also gave up two homers in his final start of a Cy Young-hopeful season. He said the injury bothered him more than in earlier outings.
"I just felt we would keep trucking through," he said. "I guess the timing is fortuitous in that the significant pain I'm feeling now I hadn't felt before. But tonight it was hard to catch my breath sometimes. It's obvious it needs to be taken care of."
Greenberg fanned on three pitches when he batted for the first time in seven years in the sixth inning. He signed a one-day contract before the game, his first since he was beaned in his major league debut in 2005.
"I think the story far transcends the result of the at-bat," Dickey said. "It was important for me and him to treat him like a big-leaguer."
Dickey had beaten the Marlins in eight consecutive starts over the past two seasons, including five this year. He struck out eight to increase his NL-leading total to 230, and ended the season at 20-6 with an ERA of 2.73.
Donovan Solano hit a game-winning, bases-loaded one-out single off Collin McHugh (0-4).
Dickey left trailing 3-0, and manager Terry Collins said he could tell the injury
was a factor.
"It hasn't bothered him," Collins said. "Today he said it felt fine, then he aggravated it in the second inning. He said he still could go pitch.