Blue Jays right fielder Caleb Gindl (39) slides safely into third base as Twins third baseman Eduardo Nunez (9) attempts to tag him out during the fourth inning in a spring-training game at Florida Auto Exchange Park.
DUNEDIN, Fla. — R.A. Dickey was more focused on Marcus Stroman’s season-ending knee injury than his own shaky start.
"You don’t ever anticipate losing a guy like that," Dickey said after the Toronto Blue Jays’ 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday. "An arm injury is one thing, but a freak accident like that knocks your wind out for a bit."
Stroman was working on fielding drills Tuesday morning when he was called off by third baseman Josh Donaldson on a bunt. Stroman planted his feet to stop, then felt a pop in his left knee. An MRI confirmed a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
The 23-year-old righty was 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA in 26 games as a rookie last season.
Stroman was not available for comment after the game, but tweeted: "Beyond devastated. Not being able to compete with my brothers each and every day is extremely disappointing. Still can’t believe it."
Toronto manager John Gibbons called the injury a huge loss, saying: "We’ll survive this, we just have to move on," Gibbons said. "Time is on our side to figure things out, but there’s a big hole, no question. We may have to rely on a young guy, who may not be proven. Stro was a baby too, but a special guy. This didn’t happen to just another guy, it happened to a special guy."
As for Tuesday’s game, Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson allowed one run and three hits in three innings.
Dickey, the 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner, gave up solo home runs to Kennys Vargas in the second inning and Eddie Rosario in the fourth. Making his second start, the knuckleballer allowed four hits and struck out two in four innings and threw 39 of 54 pitches for strikes.
"The second home run I gave up is a pitch that I would have never thrown in a real game," said. "I tried to throw a fastball in, just to work on that pitch with two strikes. But ordinarily I would have never thrown that pitch in that situation. A lot of good positives for me."
Twins catcher Josmil Pinto, who has been sidelined with a right quadriceps strain, could return as a designated hitter as early as Wednesday.
Also of note, Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks was pulled from Tuesday’s game by first-year manager Paul Molitor after he lost track of outs in the third, while standing on first base. Hicks reached on a single, but didn’t run to second when Eduardo Nunez flied out to right with two outs. He thought there was one out, which was the figure the scoreboard mistakenly displayed. "Can’t have that," Molitor said. "So, we let him think about the game."
Minnesota’s Tommy Milone starts against the Rays in Fort Myers on Wednesday. The left-hander allowed one hit in two innings in his first outing last Friday, a 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay.