PHOENIX - When Alex Dickerson says “I’m just happy to have a jersey on my back,” believe him.
The Giants called up the 29-year-old outfielder Friday to replace center fielder Steven Duggar, who was placed on the injured list with lower back tightness.
Dickerson has missed years of his prime with a variety of injuries and was stoked to get a call at 9 a.m. Friday in Las Vegas that he was to report to Phoenix for the Giants’ series opener against the Diamondbacks.
“It’s been a long road back to playing baseball,” Dickerson said, “and this year I’m just trying to have fun with it after having back surgery and Tommy John (surgery) and missing two full seasons.”
The Giants acquired Dickerson, who’s 6-foot-3 with left-handed pop, from the Padres on June 12. He had been designated for assignment after appearing in 12 games in May. He played parts of 2015 and 2016 with the Padres, but injuries knocked him out all of 2017 and 2018. He also has had ankle, heel and hip flexor ailments.
“His issue is staying healthy,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “If he stays healthy, he has tons of potential.”
Dickerson is familiar with Bochy’s family, having played at Poway High School in San Diego’s North County, a couple of years younger than Bochy’s son Brett, a former Giants reliever who played at Poway.
Dickerson had big numbers this year with the Padres’ Triple-A team (El Paso), hitting .372 with a .469 on-base percentage, five homers and 20 RBIs in 26 games. But with the Giants’ top farm team in Sacramento, he was 3-for-17.
“Last time I was playing,” said Dickerson, referring to his early years with the Padres, “I was kind of the younger guy in the major-league clubhouse. This time, I’m a little bit older. Just have a different perspective on it after not playing for so long.”
Dickerson plays both corner outfield positions and first base. Bochy said the team wanted power from the left side. Dickerson got the nod over Chris Shaw, who’s hitting a combined .290 with 11 homers and 37 RBIs in Double-A and Triple-A.
Duggar felt tightness in his lower back on a swing Tuesday in Los Angeles and sat out Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games. Bochy said he expects Duggar to be reinstated when eligible on June 29.
“I think it’s best we make sure we get it right and not come back and do anything that would be out for a significant period of time.”