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KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Halfway through his six spring training appearances, R.A. Dickey f
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KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Halfway through his six spring training appearances, R.A. Dickey feels like an old pitcher with a new beginning. "Its like getting to start over and do it the right way. You feel like youre getting a chance to reboot," Dickey said Sunday after pitching five shutout innings for the Toronto Blue Jays in a 4-3 exhibition loss to the Houston Astros. "It makes you somewhat regret not being able to invest the time that was really needed last year." Dickeys first spring with the Blue Jays was interrupted by the World Baseball Classic. A year after winning the NL Cy Young Award with the New York Mets in 2012, he went 4-7 through May with a 5.18 ERA. "You dont know that in the moment, and youre getting to do a really fantastic honour," he recalled, "but having spent a lot of time with my guys on the team and getting to prepare my body, (this spring) just feels normal." Dickey threw 82 pitches in five innings in his third spring start, giving up four hits and a walk while striking out four. He plans to get up to 95-100 pitches in his next two starts, then perhaps dial it back for his final spring outing before pitching in the season-opening series at Tampa Bay. "Being older, I know what I need to do to prepare, and this is one of the things that helps me feel confident when I take the mound, knowing that Ive gone deep in games in the spring," he said. "That way when it happens during the season Im able to do it right from the get-go and not have to build into it. It works for me. Everybodys different." Marwin Gonzalez and Carlos Perez drove in runs for the Astros in the eighth inning off losing pitcher Jeremy Jeffress. Jason Castro hit a two-run homer for the Astros in the sixth. The Blue Jays took a 3-2 lead in the eighth on a play in which the Astros lost a replay challenge for the second straight day. Steve Tolleson beat a close play at the plate, scoring on a double by Erik Kratz. "If its that close, then its definitely worth challenging because theres no telling what angle they may end up getting that can actually overturn it," Houston manager Bo Porter said. STARTING TIME BLUE JAYS: Asked about the diminished expectations for the Blue Jays this season, Dickey deadpanned: "I think were terrible, and I dont want anybody to take us seriously. I think because of last year, were probably going to get walked all over every game." ASTROS: Rudy Owens, a 26-year-old left-hander who has yet to pitch in the major leagues, matched zeroes with Dickey for three innings, giving up one hit. "I never faced that calibre of hitters, but its something Ive dealt with and Ive been doing for my entire career," he said. "Its time for me to step up and I did." TRAINERS ROOM Toronto manager John Gibbons on the post-Tommy John surgery outlook of pitcher Drew Huthison: "You dont even think of Tommy John; modern medicine is so good. Its almost like when you draft these guys and sign em, do Tommy John right away because sometimes they end up better than they were to begin with." NICE IMPRESSION Kratz drove in two runs with a single and a double while catching Dickeys knuckleball for five innings. "Calling knuckleballs is an anxious proposition so hes got to navigate that some. He did a good job," Dickey said. Cheap Arizona Coyotes Jerseys . The (11-11-4) Jets are seventh in the Central Division with 26 points.  Fifth place Dallas and sixth-seeded Nashville also have 26 points, but the Stars have three games in hand on Winnipeg while Nashville has two. Cheap Adidas Coyotes Jerseys .com) - Top seed Klara Zakopalova reached the second round, while former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone came up a loser Tuesday at the inaugural Rio Open tennis event. http://www.cheapcoyotesjerseys.com/.com) - After Tom Brady added to an already illustrious legacy, Malcolm Butler established his by leaving the Seattle Seahawks, well, deflated. Wholesale Coyotes Jerseys .com) - The NBA will be on display overseas Thursday with the New York Knicks taking on the Milwaukee Bucks at O2 Arena in London. Cheap Coyotes Jerseys .Y. - Carey Price had an early feeling that one goal might be enough to settle the latest matchup between his Montreal Canadiens and longtime Original Six foe, the New York Rangers.ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Surging into and out of the Olympic break, the Minnesota Wild have created a significant cushion between them and their competitors for the two Western Conference wild-card playoff spots. Thats not enough. With five days before they play next, this was still a game they were worried about -- and had to win. Jared Spurgeon and Zach Parise scored in the third period, and the Wild notched their season-high fifth straight victory, 3-2 over the Calgary Flames on Monday night. "You dont want to go a week without getting any points the way things are, even if you have a cushion," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "The cushion to me is nothing ... because its not about where the people are behind you. To me its much more of a race of what you need to get to." The Wild have 75 points, nine ahead of the cut, but they are off until Saturday. Then they will launch their final stretch of 20 games in 37 days. "I dont think we were at our best. I dont think we played at a level we need to play. But it doesnt matter when you look back at the score," Parise said. Kyle Brodziak also scored, rookie Darcy Kuemper stopped 21 shots during his 15th start in a row, and the Wild raised their record at home to 22-7-2 while playing in front of their fans for the first time in 25 days. Captain Mikko Koivu, back from a 17-game absence due to a broken ankle, skated on the second line with Dany Heatley and Charlie Coyle, apart from Parise for the first time. Parise gave the Wild some insurance by camping in the crease and deflecting a shot past Reto Berra with 5:16 remaining for his 21st goal. Just 77 seconds later, Mark Giordano scored to bring the Flames back within a goal. But Kuemper hung on to raise his record to 11-3-2. Kuemper has played so well in place of Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom that the Wild might not need to trade for a goalie before the deadline. "The confidence he has now, you can see that, and its just kind of the edge hes playing with thats good to see," Koivu said. "Hes playing winning hockey right now, so obviously thats a huge part of the team." Mikael Granlund had two assists while pllaying in the NHL for the first time against his brother Markus Granlund, who was called up from the AHL last week by the Flames.dddddddddddd After a scoreless, sluggish and penalty-free first period, the pace picked up in the middle frame. Matt Cooke swooped in behind the net to poke the puck away from Berra. Brodziak crept toward the crease to corral the puck and knocked it in for the games first goal. "If you make a mistake the puck ends up in the net. I feel bad for the team because they played really hard tonight and we had a great chance to win," Berra said. Mike Cammalleri, playing perhaps his last game for the Flames with the NHL trade deadline looming on Wednesday, tied it 1-1 in the second period when Koivus pass ricocheted across the slot to him for an easy tap-in that Kuemper had no chance to stop. "No moral victories. We know theyre playing well, but wed like to win," Cammalleri said. With Coyle screening Berra on a power play, Spurgeon sent a slap shot through traffic for the lead. "We had to kind of grind that one out. I had a feeling this was going to be a difficult game for us right from the start," Yeo said. The Flames, buried in the Western Conference playoff race, could make some moves this week. Cammalleri scored for the first time since Jan. 6. He missed nine games during that stretch because of a concussion. "Cammi, you always know that hes going to show up to work," coach Bob Hartley said. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, as a guest of Wild owner Craig Leipold, watched from a suite. Leipold took him earlier in the day to Target Field, where baseballs Twins play, and TCF Bank Stadium, the football home of the University of Minnesota, for tours of possible outdoor game venues. The NHL put on six this season. Bettman has assured the Wild they will be awarded an outdoor game but hasnt committed to a timeframe. NOTES: Flames RW David Jones hurt his upper body in a collision against the boards. "It doesnt look very good," Hartley said. ... Koivu missed 17 games, plus the Olympics for his native Finland, because of a broken ankle. ... Markus Granlund posted his first NHL assist, on Giordanos goal. 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