You can’t help thinking how a guy like R.A. Dickey, with his legacy of failure and fractured expectations, must revel in being a made-man at spring training, existing in that fantasyland where process trumps results.

In this superstar phase of a baseball career that has also plumbed the depths of despair, Dickey has the privilege of ignoring a scoreboard.

Surrender three runs in the first inning? Don’t worry, be happy.

“I felt good again today,” said Dickey, feeling chipper after a 44-pitch, three-inning outing that was followed by throwing 16 more pitches in the bullpen.

“My strike percentage was pretty high and I was ahead of just about every hitter. Mechanically I felt good. These first two or three outings, that’s what it’s about for me. It’s about getting my body prepared to grow from here. I still have to settle into about two or three (more) mph of velocity and that should come over the next two weeks.”

Those next two weeks will be spent as the ace of Team USA’s pitching staff at the World Baseball Classic. He leaves today to join his teammates in Arizona. He says he’s ready for the strange competitive stress that meaningful games in March will put on him.