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Dickerson inching closer to spring debut

Special to MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Alex Dickerson took a step closer to returning to game action Sunday as he recovers from back stiffness that took him off the field after the first weekend of Cactus League play. Dickerson hit in the batting cage Sunday and was happy with the result.

"I felt like I hadn't missed a beat," Dickerson said. "It was about 40 swings, off the tee and front toss. It wasn't anything too aggressive, but I was getting the pitches outside, inside, up and down, so it's all I could really ask for as far as that session goes."

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Alex Dickerson took a step closer to returning to game action Sunday as he recovers from back stiffness that took him off the field after the first weekend of Cactus League play. Dickerson hit in the batting cage Sunday and was happy with the result.

"I felt like I hadn't missed a beat," Dickerson said. "It was about 40 swings, off the tee and front toss. It wasn't anything too aggressive, but I was getting the pitches outside, inside, up and down, so it's all I could really ask for as far as that session goes."

The 26-year-old left-handed outfielder is coming off a strong rookie campaign in 2016 that saw him hit .257 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs in 84 big league games.

"I feel like I'm in a good spot," Dickerson said. "My core's about as strong as I've ever been with all the exercise I've been doing. The ball was coming off [the bat] really good. I'm excited to keep progressing, and it's baseball, so I won't be surprised if I don't hit it great tomorrow, just because it's the nature of the game and building back up.

"I feel like I haven't missed a step health-wise. I feel like I'm right there."

In other health news, right-handed pitcher Jon Edwards raised concern after his initial progress recovering from forearm stiffness seems to have taking a step back. He was scratched from pitching Thursday and his only Cactus League action has been a perfect inning against the Angels on Feb. 27.

"He was feeling better coming off of it," manager Andy Green said Sunday of Edwards' condition on Saturday. "He felt sore today. We haven't had any test on it at this point in time, but we're probably getting closer to doing that based on how he's feeling today."

Edwards is shut down until the soreness goes away. He missed all of 2016 with a flexor strain in his right elbow.

Green also noted that catcher Tony Cruz has an injury in the intercostal area.

"Tony Cruz is a little banged up," Green said. "I'm not quite sure what's going on there. I don't think it's horrible, but it's something that's kept him out of activity for a day or two now."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com.

San Diego Padres, Alex Dickerson