Dickerson bulks up over winter after solid debut
Outfielder gains 15 pounds, works on running fly-ball routes in busy offseason
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies outfielder Corey Dickerson didn't want last season to end. It's as if he didn't want to let it, either.
Dickerson received his first Major League action last year and hit .263 with five home runs, 17 RBIs and 23 extra-base hits in 69 games, over two callups. It was enough to vault him into a competition for at-bats and starts in the outfield this season.
He followed that with an offseason during which he bulked up by 15 pounds and went to Meridian (Miss.) Community College -- where he played before the Rockies drafted him in the eighth round in 2010 -- and took fly balls from all three positions to improve his routes.
"Maybe two weeks out of the whole offseason," Dickerson said, when asked how much time he devoted to rest. "When you have a chance to compete for a spot, you have to take advantage. You can rest later."
Dickerson, 24, will compete with fellow lefty batter Charlie Blackmon, who has hit .291 over parts of three seasons. The Rockies also have righty-swinging Drew Stubbs, who came in a trade with the Indians and is under a one-year, $4.1 million contract -- an indication the club will find playing time for him, as well as Brandon Barnes, the Astros' starting center fielder much of last season.
"I think the way I worked out in the offseason and everything thing I did last year, I feel that I can play any three of the positions -- center field, left field or right field," Dickerson said. "We are competing for that job and whoever wins, wins. But it's all competition."
Many of the available at-bats appear to be at the leadoff spot, which was opened in November when the Rockies sent center fielder Dexter Fowler to the Astros for Barnes and right-handed starter Jordan Lyles.
To complete his heavy training for the season, Dickerson has been in Arizona for a week and plans on working with Rockies first-base coach Eric Young Sr. and Double-A Tulsa manager Kevin Riggs -- a force in Dickerson's development -- to improve his bunting and baserunning. Position players aren't officially due to report to camp until Friday.
However, many a young player coming off a successful debut has taken a step back the following year, partly because he's consumed with the pressure of proving he belongs.
Dickerson said it's not his way to allow for that possibility.
"It's keeping my mind right," Dickerson said. "I don't think about it that way. I think about competing when I get out there. I want to be the best out there and I don't think about it driving me the other way.
"I love taking chances, taking risks. That's what I enjoy about this game. I want to play this game with no doubts and no regrets."