R.A. Dickey leaves start

7/3/2011 - MLB R.A. Dickey New York Mets + more

NEW YORK -- New York Mets starter R.A. Dickey left Sunday's game after feeling tightness in his left glute, but expects to make his next start.

Dickey's left leg slipped during a pitch in the fourth inning and the Mets pulled him for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning. He left with the game tied at 1-1 and the Mets went on to win 3-2 in 10 innings.

"That's one of the reasons I was proactive in telling the truth to Terry. I want to be there in five days," Dickey said. "If I go back out with that area already traumatized, you can really injure it. Just trying to be smart. Earlier in my career I probably would've gutted it out and cost us the game but I was thankful I made the right decision."

Dickey initially felt his glute tighten up in the fourth inning during an at-bat against Brett Gardner, the second fastball. He said he got a little overextended, saying sometimes he can get a little long with his stride, and his cleat caught and "it kind of gave way." Dickey added that he's been told the injured area is the piriformis muscle, which is located in the buttocks region.

As he originally walked around following the injury, Dickey thought he would be able to fight through the pain, but when he came in to sit down during the bottom of the fourth inning, he said it started to tighten it up. When he went back out to the mound in the fifth, he said his glute still felt tight.

Dickey's injury puts a damper on what had been a great start for the knuckleballer. He had a perfect game after three innings and a no-hitter following four, but ultimately lost both. After retiring the first 10 batters of the game, and following the at-bat when the injury occurred, Dickey walked Curtis Granderson to end the perfect game.

In the fifth, Dickey yielded a leadoff double to Robinson Cano and an RBI single to Nick Swisher that tied the game at 1-1. The Yankees eventually loaded the bases with two outs, but Dickey retired Granderson on a grounder to second. After getting the out, Dickey stayed in a catcher's squat for several seconds before walking back to the dugout.

"I didn't feel very good that inning, it was a real fight to get us to that point even," Dickey said. "It was much more relief than anything."

Dickey is now 4-7 with a 3.68 ERA on the year. He gave up just two hits and struck out three in his five innings, the second time he has pitched quite well against the Yankees this season. He beat the Yankees on May 20, giving up one run in six innings.

"I've had a good knuckleball the nights I've faced them," Dickey said. "I was really changing speeds with it tonight. I was sad I had an aggravated injury because I felt like I could've pitched pretty deep in the game tonight with what I had."

Matt Ehalt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.