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Dickerson suffers setback to back injury

Left fielder's Opening Day status in question
March 13, 2017

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Alex Dickerson's ailing back flared up again Sunday night, and the Padres left fielder was scratched from Monday's lineup against the Cubs, a setback which raises questions about his status for Opening Day.Dickerson, who batted .257/.333/.455 during his rookie season last year, was expected to receive the

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Alex Dickerson's ailing back flared up again Sunday night, and the Padres left fielder was scratched from Monday's lineup against the Cubs, a setback which raises questions about his status for Opening Day.
Dickerson, who batted .257/.333/.455 during his rookie season last year, was expected to receive the bulk of the playing time in left field this season. He missed the first two weeks of Cactus League play, before debuting as a designated hitter on Saturday.
Monday's game was supposed to be Dickerson's first appearance in the outfield. But his back began to stiffen following Sunday's workout.
"You get a little bit more concerned for him breaking with the club, and his ability to get through this," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He's a guy, to us, that's a big part of what we do in the outfield. It's tough to lose him right now. We're still hopeful that the spasm he's feeling in his back releases, and he's able to get back on the field pretty quickly. But when you have a relapse in that area, that's concerning."
Dickerson burst onto the scene last July, his first full month in the big leagues. He batted .303/.343/.621, and was instrumental in the Padres' National League-record-tying 25-game home run streak.

At the end of that month, however, Dickerson collided with center fielder Travis Jankowski, hurting his hip and back in the process. After missing a few games, he played through the injury, but mostly struggled the rest of the season. It's unclear whether the two injuries are related.
"He's dealt with some back things throughout his life," Green said. "In dealing with those things, he's learned how to manage them. It's just flared up on him a couple times in spring. And as the clock ticks [toward Opening Day], it becomes more concerning."
Jankowski, Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot remain favorites to break camp with the big league club. That could leave Jabari Blash and Collin Cowgill fighting for Dickerson's presumed spot. Prospect Franchy Cordero may have an outside chance as well.
Worth noting
Ryan Schimpf is still fighting a nagging oblique issue. The Padres second baseman was initially slated to play Monday, but his side tightened up following Sunday's workout. Green indicated that the injury isn't as serious as the one that has sidelined Dickerson.
• Right-hander Colin Rea has not yet begun playing catch in his recovery from Tommy John surgery in November. He met with Dr. James Andrews last week, and was cleared to begin throwing. Rea will miss the 2017 season regardless, so the club plans to take a slow approach to the steps in his recovery.
• The Padres remain hopeful that center fielder Margot will return to workouts after Tuesday's off-day. Margot, the club's top prospect per MLBPipeline.com, has been out since March 5 with a sore left knee.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.