OAKLAND -- When R.A. Dickey first heard that Carsten Charles Sabathia, previously known as C.C., was removing the periods from his initialed first name, his initial reaction was, "what exactly does that mean?"

Other than a little shorter and perhaps quicker autograph signature, putting two letters side-by-side without any space there doesn't appear to be much difference. And until further notice, R.A. Dickey will remain R.A. Dickey and the same goes with injured Mariners closer J.J. Putz.

Joseph Jason has been "J.J." forever.

"I don't even know when it even came about, but I probably have been called J.J. since birth," Putz said. "My dad is named Joe and my grandfather is named Joe."

Dickey, whose legal name is Robert Allen, said he went by "Robert" until he reached the seventh or eighth grade.

"Everyone in my family and friends called me R.A., and when anyone called me Robert, I would tell them my name is R.A. Heck, it's just a nickname, anyway."

Same with his mom's father, who has gone through life known as R.G. Bowers.

R.A., meanwhile, said he has had several teammates remove the periods from his nickname.

"Some guys call me RA [as in rabid]," he said. "You might not know this, but RA means sun god in Egypt, but I'm not a sun god. [Roy] Corcoran calls me ARA [as in aura]."

See what CC started by dropping the periods?