LOS ANGELES — Alex Dickerson’s balky oblique has sent him back to San Francisco.
Before Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that Dickerson — who gave the Giants a spark after being called up in June — was flown back to the Bay Area to receive a cortisone injection in his right oblique.
The Giants’ dangerous left-handed outfield bat has been sidelined frequently over the last month with discomfort, something Dickerson said stems from not having played baseball for two years after a second microdiscectomy surgery and Tommy John. Bochy indicated that there is no structural damage.
“I think with him, he should keep trying to play, and hopefully, we get back out there before season’s over,” Bochy said. “I don’t think it’s a risk of injury. It’s just a matter of getting comfortable to where he can play.”
When healthy, Dickerson has been a force in the middle of the San Francisco lineup. In 46 games with them this season, he’s slashed .308/.374/.579 with six home runs, 24 RBIs, three triples, 12 doubles and an OPS+ of 148. The problem, though, has been staying healthy.
Dickerson has a checkered injury history, punctuated by fluke or freak injuries like blowing out his elbow trying to come back too quickly after a hip injury, needing a second microdiscectomy after running into teammate Travis Jankowski while pursuing a fly ball with San Diego and needing a new heel bone to replace one hollowed out by a cyst. It’s because of that history that he didn’t play pro ball in 2017 and 2018, and his rotten luck is why he was available to pick up in a midseason trade.
By the time he was healthy to start this season, he was spiked in the lower leg by Mariners minor leaguer Tito Polo while playing with Triple-A El Paso. The deep cuts into his calf affected his swing, and in 12 games with the Padres, he hit just .158 and was designated for assignment and traded to the Giants for Franklin Van Gurp.
As opposed to his previous injuries, though, oblique discomfort is fairly minor, and as Dickerson has said, is a consequence of him getting used to playing baseball full-time again. It’s something that’s solvable, and since he’s under contract for next season with minor league options available, he’s almost a certainty to be part of the 2020 Giants.
“I think you have to look at anything we can do this offseason, as far as any kind of conditioning or program we put him on to keep him on the field,” Bochy said. “Maybe monitoring his work, how much he plays on the field, how many games. These questions are have to be answered when the season’s over so we can get the best out of him. I think he’s a guy that’s a really good hitter.”
Cueto update: Johnny Cueto threw a bullpen before the the game, and will return to the starting rotation on Tuesday.
Tony Watson down: Still considered day-to-day with a balky wrist, Bochy wants to stay away from the set-up man in the second game in Los Angeles.
Giants pick up two relievers: Over the last 24 hours, the Giants have claimed two relievers off of waivers: Wandy Peralta and Ricardo Pinto. Both still have options remaining (Peralta has two, Pinto has one), and given the state of San Francisco’s bullpen — it’s endured more change in the last month than Bochy has seen in his 25 years of managing in the Major Leagues.
“Guys with good stuff that we’re taking a look at, that’s why we got them,” Bochy said.
Pinto was sent to Triple-A Sacramento, but could be an intriguing add for no cost. He signed with the Phillies at the age of 17 in 2011, pitched in 25 games in his rookie year in 2017, with a 7.89 ERA (6.36 FIP) in 29 2/3 innings. In eight minor league seasons, he’s struck out 6.8 per nine innings over 729 1/3 innings with a 3.68 ERA. The main attraction with him is his 95-mph sinker, which has a lot of late life.
Peralta, 28, has a 5.00 ERA in 151 1/3 major-league inning and a K rate of 7.1 per nine innings, but he’s a lefty with a 95-mph fastball, which is enough to be worth a look. He’ll join the team on Monday.