SAN DIEGO – San Diego Padres spring training begins next week and Poway native Alex Dickerson is hoping to make it back to the big league roster.
Since 2015, Dickerson has battled injuries that've kept him from earning a starting position but this year, he's confident he can change that.
Dickerson will have to prove his health won't be a factor if he wants to earn an everyday job in the Padres outfield.
A bulging disc in his lower back last season proved problematic for the 27-year-old. He elected season-ending surgery in June and missed the entire 2017 season.
"I gave it my best shot to get back on the field and I just could not get out of the spasm mode," said Dickerson. "Once it became apparent I needed to have surgery and since surgery, everything has kind of gone smoothly."
Dickerson says he's reached a point where he's swinging loose enough to reach his backside -- a point he wasn't able to get to last year.
"I couldn't get to my backside because of the disc hitting a nerve and it just wasn't allowing my body to function correctly," said Dickerson. "Now I'm 100 percent confident that's been fixed, especially after this last week of hitting on the field and kind of taking full hard swings and really having no issues staying back."
That being said, Dickerson is confident he'll be a full go when spring training begins and credits that to taking the necessary time off in order to fully recover.
"That's been a huge step in the right process," said Dickerson. "I think we did it right as far as taking a lot of time off, making sure I got my body right before I started everything because so far, all the extra activity I've had no soreness throughout."
In order to prepare for the amount of standing endured at spring training, Dickerson's been spending part of his time at the San Diego Zoo.
"After workouts, get a nice walk in, get kind of used to that standing," said Dickerson. "I don't think they'll let me walk around there in cleats which would be the most ideal way to condition my shins."
Dickerson's left-handed bat and hitting potential make for an attractive combination in the Padres lineup, but only if he can manage to stay healthy.
"Right now I'm just happy and confident that I will be playing baseball," said Dickerson. "As a player, it doesn't really change depending on the roster or whatever. You're always going into Spring Training just trying to work hard, perfect your craft and see where it takes you."
The Padres pitchers and catchers will report to spring training on February 14 ahead of the first full team workout scheduled for February 19.