A lot has changed for R.A. Dickey since he last faced the Rangers, his original team.
That was in 2009, when Dickey was pitching out of the Twins' bullpen. Texas' first-round pick in the 1996 First-Year Player Draft had played parts of five big league seasons for the club before leaving after the '06 season with a 5.72 career ERA.
He then bounced to Seattle, Minnesota and finally New York, where his knuckleball clicked and led him to win the 2012 National League Cy Young Award with the Mets. Traded to the Blue Jays this offseason, Dickey will try to get back to that form Saturday as he returns to Rangers Ballpark in the third game in a set of four.
The right-hander can help Toronto take its third straight victory over Texas and fourth straight overall. The Blue Jays have won seven of 10 and are 4-1 against the Rangers this season.
Dickey, however, has struggled. After holding the Giants to two hits over 8 1/3 scoreless innings June 5, he surrendered seven runs in five innings against the White Sox on Monday amid dense fog at U.S. Cellular Field.
"For me, it's just the dampness, the moisture," Dickey said of the conditions. "The knuckleballs were leaving my hand good but just not doing anything at the plate. That was probably the biggest difficulty; I felt fine, it's just that the ball wasn't breaking."
The right-hander is 5-8 with a 5.11 ERA and has given up at least six earned runs in three of his past four outings.
"I haven't seen him much," said Rangers manager Ron Washington, who took the helm in Texas in 2007, the year after Dickey's departure. "When I have seen him, he was getting beat up. I certainly hope he's in that state, but I haven't seen much. It seems like every time I saw him on MLB [Network], they were knocking him all over the place, and the games he played well I didn't see on MLB [Network].
"I just hope he's in that state where we can knock him all over the place. He's a tough knuckleballer, man. Those guys are either on or they're not. Let's hope he's off. See it high, let it fly. See it low, let it go."
Shortstop Elvis Andrus, one of several Rangers with no regular-season experience against Dickey, said the knuckler would present a difficult task.
"That's like trying to hit a butterfly," he said. "It's tough, but we've faced a guy like that before in [former Red Sox pitcher] Tim Wakefield, and you can go from there."
The Rangers, losers of four straight, will counter with Josh Lindblom (0-1, 5.91), who is making his third start. The 26-year-old righty, who was 6-0 with a 2.04 ERA at Triple-A Round Rock, posted a quality start Monday against the Indians, striking out six in six innings.
"He's done a good job; he kept us in the game," Andrus said. "As an offense, that's what you're looking for: a guy that works hard, doesn't make errors and gives us an opportunity to score."
Blue Jays: Lind swinging hot bat
Adam Lind's 2-for-4 effort Friday marked his 11th multi-hit game out of his past 17 starts. In 19 total games during that stretch, Lind is batting .436 with seven doubles, three home runs and 10 RBIs. His batting average has climbed from .258 to .339.
• Right-hander Josh Johnson, the team's original Saturday starter, had his outing pushed back another day as he recovers from a blister on his right middle finger. He is now scheduled to pitch against the Rockies on Monday night in Toronto.
Rangers: Celebration sidelines Baker
Jeff Baker missed Friday's game because of the sprained right thumb he sustained while exchanging a high-five with a teammate Thursday. Baker's thumb was bent back to his wrist during the exchange with an unidentified culprit.
The injury was preventing Baker from gripping a bat. As of Friday, he had not had an MRI exam and was not sure when he could return.
Baker has appeared at five different positions for the Rangers this season while hitting .317 with nine homers and a .695 slugging percentage. He is batting .386 against left-handed pitchers.
• The only current Rangers player to play with Dickey for Texas is Ian Kinsler. Dickey made one start with the club in 2006, Kinsler's rookie year.
• Dickey's only other start against the Rangers came in '08 with the Mariners. He got the win at Rangers Ballpark, giving up two runs on six hits in 7 2/3 innings.
• Three Blue Jays hitters -- Mark DeRosa, Josh Thole and Melky Cabrera -- have faced Lindblom, but none has more than two plate appearances.