NEW YORK -- R.A. Dickey was pitching more than a decade ago for the Class A Charlotte Rangers, his first professional team, when an unsuspecting runner strayed a bit too far from second base. In one sudden motion, Dickey lifted his back foot from the pitching rubber, twisted his torso and fired a sidearm bullet to second base.
"My body took over," Dickey said. "It was just a total reaction, very instinctive. And from then on, I had something."
Throughout the ensuing decade, Dickey has spent hours perfecting the admittedly unnatural move, and estimates he has nabbed around a dozen runners straying too far off second base. His latest victim was Marlins outfielder Mike Cameron, whom he caught off second base in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Monday at Citi Field.
It helps, Dickey says, that he does not possess an ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, allowing him to snap his arm at a more unnatural angle.
"In all honesty, it's just a little bit more intense than a left-handed stepoff move," Dickey said. "I'm putting a little more torque on my arm."
It is a violent move with favorable results. Since becoming a full-time big leaguer last season, Dickey ranks fifth amongst right-handed pitchers with five pickoffs.
"If I make a good throw, it's so quick," Dickey said of his unusual move. "It's going to be bang-bang almost every time."
Collins checks on Reyes; Tejada future at short?
NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins said shortstop Jose Reyes told him he was feeling fine Tuesday afternoon after playing his first game with the Mets since Aug. 7 on Monday. Reyes missed 18 games with his second strained left hamstring of the season.
Collins said he checked in with Reyes before Tuesday's game and that he will continue to check in with his shortstop periodically as the season goes on as part of his plan to keep Reyes' legs healthy.
"We get here early enough that if I need to switch a lineup because he needs a day, I can certainly take it off before making a big deal about it," Collins said. "As he always says, 'I'm ready for today, tomorrow, next day, next day, next day, next day.' And I'm expecting that response from him.
"This is just something that's in his best interest also -- besides the club's -- to make sure when he's on the field, he's healthy."
Whether Collins is in charge of the free-agent-to-be's playing schedule remains to be seen. If Reyes leaves New York, Collins has said he believes 21-year-old middle infielder Ruben Tejada is capable of playing shortstop every day.
Tejada played in 78 games last season and has batted .282 with a .367 on-base percentage and a .338 slugging percentage in 71 games this season. Though Tejada doesn't have as flashy a game as the man he could be replacing, Collins said he thinks he does have a degree of athleticism that can go undetected.
"Because he doesn't perhaps possess the flair that Jose possesses doesn't mean he's not athletic. He's not as fast, but yet he's an average runner," Collins said. "He's a good baserunner. His mental makeup is so far beyond his years. I think that's what makes him stand out. You watch him play enough on a daily basis, and you see the athleticism."
Though Collins likes Tejada's baserunning, he said he'd like to see him steal more bases in the future. In 149 Major League games, Tejada has stolen just five bases and been caught stealing twice. But in 2007, Tejada stole 18 bases in the Minors, and in 2009, he stole 19.
"He's athletic enough to steal bases," Collins said. "We've got to get him to learn how to steal bases. Jeff Bagwell stole 31 bases for me in '95. Thirty-one from first base. When you go into towns and they read the notes where somebody's got 26 stolen bases, they know they're running and yet you can still steal bases if you pay attention. So that's going to be a big factor moving forward."
Piazza among ex-Mets in Sept. 11 ceremony
NEW YORK -- The Mets announced Tuesday that former Mets players Mike Piazza, Todd Zeile, Robin Ventura, John Franco and manager Bobby Valentine will participate in pregame ceremonies at Citi Field on Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks in Manhattan.
All five were members of the 2001 Mets team that played in the first Major League game in New York City following the attacks, with Piazza hitting a dramatic go-ahead home run in the eighth inning.
The Mets also plan to commemorate Sept. 11 by visiting firehouses throughout the city for a 10th straight year, as well as continuing their partnership with Tuesday's Children, a non-profit organization providing an array of support programs and services to the Sept. 11 community, including the families of victims and first responders.
Parnell carving niche in Mets' closer's role
NEW YORK -- The first time Bobby Parnell recorded a save this season, he was nervous. The second time, not so much.
"I felt a lot more focused," Parnell said of his Game 1 save in Monday's doubleheader sweep of the Marlins. "I felt like I got it out of the way and was more focused on the job. I wouldn't say I've been there and done that, but I didn't have the first-time jitters, those Opening Day jitters."
Parnell certainly did not have them in Game 2 of the doubleheader, entering with a four-run lead and recording the final three outs without incident. Though it was not a save situation, Mets manager Terry Collins said that as Parnell continues to develop into his closing role, he wants the young right-hander to begin innings whenever possible -- rather than enter in the middle of jams.
"I'm trying to take this guy along in steps where he can come in with clean innings if I can help it," Collins said. "So I thought it was our best way to go about winning that game."
Because Parnell pitched in both halves of Monday's doubleheader, Collins planned to turn to Jason Isringhausen if a save situation arose on Tuesday.
Mets manager Terry Collins has confirmed that right-hander Miguel Batista will start Thursday's series finale against the Marlins.
Six Mets will play for the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League this autumn: infielders Reese Havens and Jefry Marte, outfielder Juan Lagares and pitchers Collin McHugh, Brandon Moore and Taylor Whitenton. Havens and Marte rank eighth and 10th, respectively, on MLB.com's Top 10 Mets prospects list.
At Tuesday's 22nd annual Latino MVP Award luncheon at Citi Field, third baseman David Wright became the first recipient of the Roberto Clemente Sportsman of the Year Award, given to a player "who has shown a sincere openness to the Latino media and cordiality to fans of all ages."
Outfielder Angel Pagan entered Tuesday's play ranking eighth in the National League with a .343 August batting average, reaching safely in 21 of 23 games this month.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. Aaron Taube is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.