PHOENIX -- Leave it to R.A. Dickey, who is about as articulate as they come in the big league playing ranks, to come up with perhaps the most colorful description of Giancarlo Stanton I've heard to date.
When asked what it's like pitching against Stanton, Dickey replied: "I feel like Jack around him, (as in), Jack and the Beanstalk. He takes up the whole box visually when I've faced him, and I've faced him a number of times. I remember having the same feeling when Frank Thomas was in the box. He just takes up the whole box and you don't feel there's much place to go with him."
Dickey and Stanton, who are teammates on the U.S. team that opens play in the World Baseball Classic here on Friday, are familiar foes. Only Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay have faced Stanton more often than Dickey, the reigning N.L. Cy Young Award winner who is taking his knuckleball this season to Toronto. Stanton has gone 6 for 20 against Dickey, but none of those hits were homers.
"Thankfully I throw a pitch that moves in a lot of different directions, so I've been able to have a little bit of success against him," Dickey said. "But he is a very intimidating player to play against."
Dickey isn't the only member of Team USA gushing praise at Stanton. The team's manager, Joe Torre, was equally effusive.
"He's quite a physical specimen and he's got a head on his shoulders to match," Torre said of the Marlins' slugger. "This kid is....wow. You can tell a lot from when a player takes batting practice. I go back to the days when I played and guys having contests of who can hit the ball the farthest. He's up there working his batting practice. And when I say working his batting practice, he'll hit more balls to the right side of second base than he will to the left side because he knows what makes him successful. He doesn't say a whole lot, very respectful. He's very special, a very special youg man in the few days I've been around him."