R.A. Dickey out with sore neck, back

TORONTO -- Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey left Thursday night's 3-1 win against the Chicago White Sox after six shutout innings because of tightness in his neck and back.

Toronto manager John Gibbons and trainer George Poulis went to the mound after Dickey struck out Dewayne Wise for the second out of the sixth. After a brief discussion, Dickey remained in the game and finished the inning.

Dickey appeared to be rubbing his upper back as he left the dugout and walked to the clubhouse at the end of the inning. He was replaced by right-hander Esmil Rogers.

"There was no reason to push it," Dickey said of his soreness. "We had a lead and it had progressively gotten a little bit worse throughout the game."

"I had a knuckleball tonight where I would have thrown a complete game," Dickey continued, "so it was unfortunate that (the injury) acted up on me."

Dickey said his back first felt sore during his start at Kansas City last Saturday, but was able to pitch another 1 1/3 innings against the Royals.

"It got better over the course of the week, enough so that I felt comfortable taking the ball," he said. "Hopefully it will continue to get better in between these starts."

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons called Dickey's start "outstanding," and said he didn't think the knuckler would have to miss any time.

"He's a tough guy," Gibbons said. "I'm sure we'll see him in five days."

Dickey said he was "optimistic" that he could make his next scheduled start, Tuesday at Baltimore, but was cautious about pushing himself.

"I just don't want it to linger for months," he said.

Dickey allowed two hits, walked one and struck out a season-high seven. The reigning NL Cy Young award winner was in line for his second straight win after opening the season with back-to-back losses.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.