5/7/2014 10:32 P.M. ET
Dickey uses picture book to teach children
By Jamie Ross / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey recently published "Knuckleball Ned," an anti-bullying picture book with illustrations by Tim Bowers.
Dickey, the 39-year-old Blue Jays pitcher, says he is a strong supporter of children's literacy.
"Reading is something that can really teach a child how to relate to characters and people," he said. "I'm a huge proponent of reading to kids."
The children's story revolves around Ned, a nervous baseball on his first day of school. Everyone seems to know where they belong, except Ned. He isn't a fastball or a slider, and the Foul Ball gang makes fun of him for the way he wobbles. When they bully another student, it's up to Ned to come to the rescue. Not only does Ned realize he is a knuckleball, but he discovers that he can be a hero.
Known for being a bookworm, Dickey, who won a National League Cy Young Award in 2012, studied English at the University of Tennessee and often reads in the clubhouse and bullpen. He is also the bestselling author of his memoirs "Wherever I Wind Up" and its adaptation for young readers, "Throwing Strikes."
Anthopoulos voices confidence in McGowan
TORONTO -- General manager Alex Anthopoulos during a scrum with reporters attempted to put to rest the idea that Blue Jays starter Dustin McGowan was pitching for his job with each outing.
There has been speculation over the past couple of weeks that McGowan is in danger of losing his spot in the rotation. Anthopoulos appeared to take issue with that notion this week, and he gave a vote of confidence to his veteran right-hander.
"I know from a media standpoint, especially with McGowan, I never understood the whole McGowan watch," Anthopoulos said. "I kept hearing every start is for his job; I don't know that we've ever said it. It's been three starts in a row, every start is for his job, I just don't know that ever came from the organization."
Speculation in the media stemmed from McGowan's previous acknowledgment that he had felt fatigued around the 60-pitch mark, and moves by the organization seemed to suggest that Marcus Stroman -- who was called up from Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday -- might be tapped to take his rotation spot.
The Blue Jays shuffled their Triple-A rotation to align Stroman's April 29 start with McGowan's start in Kansas City. The move seemed to indicate that the Blue Jays were having both starters pitch on the same day in case a move had to be made on the next turn through the rotation.
Additionally, manager John Gibbons had previously expressed his preference for McGowan in a bullpen role.
"Those guys are going to get an opportunity, just like anything, subject to change for anybody, whether it's a position player, reliever or starter," Anthopoulos said. "We want to give McGowan a look and see how he does. Obviously he's had a nice run here the last two. [J.A.] Happ just got in there, so it's too early to tell there."
McGowan was 2-1 with a 4.80 ERA through six starts this year.
Lind may return for finale against Phillies
TORONTO -- Adam Lind could return to the Blue Jays for Thursday's game against the Phillies, manager John Gibbons said Wednesday.
Lind, who is on the 15-day disabled list with tightness in his lower back, was scheduled play nine innings for Class A Dunedin on Wednesday.
"Possibly, yeah, he may be here tomorrow," Gibbons said. "We're not quite sure yet. ...We'll see how he feels. He's moving along pretty good."
Gibbons was not clear on who Lind would replace on the Blue Jays' roster, saying only that it would "probably be a catcher." He was most likely referring to Erik Kratz, but he backed away from that statement Wednesday evening, saying that Kratz, who was 2-for-4 with a home run in Wednesday's 10-0 victory against the Phillies, would most likely stay around to guard starting catcher Dioner Navarro, who has been nursing an injured quadriceps.
"He's a big league player, he's proved that," Gibbons said of Kratz. "He came up through this system, always been the odd man out. Probably not a lot of recognition. But he stuck with it. … If there's any way we can keep him, we'll definitely do that."
Josh Thole is the other catcher on the Blue Jays' roster, and for the most part he is behind the plate whenever knuckleballer R.A. Dickey gets the start. Thole has put up decent numbers in the batter's box this season, going .400 (14-for-35) in 14 games.
Lind, who normally fills the designated hitter role for Toronto, has been out of the lineup since April 15. He's hitting .324 (11-for-34) with one home run and nine walks in 13 games.
Also on the injury front, third baseman Brett Lawrie remained out of the lineup Wednesday. Lawrie left Monday's game in Philadelphia in the fourth inning with tightness in his left hamstring, and he sat out Tuesday's contest against the Phillies. He is expected to return to action Thursday or Friday.
Gibbons said Lawrie's injury was minor and that he did not expect it to lead to a spot on the disabled list.
"We don't think that's going to happen at all," Gibbons said. "[He] doesn't play tonight, doesn't play tomorrow, he'd be ready to go. We think it's very minor, but we don't want to aggravate it too soon, either, then he ends up on the DL."
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.