After throwing live batting practice, R.A. Dickey makes a point of shaking the hand of not only his catcher but the batters he faced.

The 38-year-old Cy Young Award winner knows the knuckleball is no fun to hit, especially at the beginning of spring training when hitters are only beginning to find their groove. It's a little thing, but speaks volumes about a pitcher who joins the Jays with a stellar reputation on and off the field.

"He's a special guy," said Toronto manager John Gibbons.

"R.A is one of a kind. He's a great guy and a great pitcher," said infielder Mark DeRosa.

"He's a first-class citizen," said catcher J.P. Arencibia.

Opposition hitters will notice a different Dickey, however.

"You'll see. He's a different cat when he's out there pitching," said catcher John Thole.

"He's a very nice guy. But he's ultra-competitive as well," echoed catcher Mike Nickeas. "Don't let him fool you when he's in here. The guy's super-competitive and he wants to win."

Dickey makes his spring training debut Monday against the visiting Boston Red Sox.

Reminded by a reporter that he has been dubbed "baseball's most improbable star," Dickey begs to differ.