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Padres' Dickerson opts for back surgery

Outfielder will be ready for Spring Training in 2018
MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Even though it will mean an end to his season, Alex Dickerson is relieved he won't have to deal with the sharp pain down his left leg for much longer.

The Padres' outfielder has elected to undergo a season-ending microdiscectomy, a surgery to remove bulging disc material in his lower back. After initially suffering the injury during Spring Training, Dickerson said he expects to be fully recovered by December and ready to go for Spring Training in 2018.

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SAN DIEGO -- Even though it will mean an end to his season, Alex Dickerson is relieved he won't have to deal with the sharp pain down his left leg for much longer.

The Padres' outfielder has elected to undergo a season-ending microdiscectomy, a surgery to remove bulging disc material in his lower back. After initially suffering the injury during Spring Training, Dickerson said he expects to be fully recovered by December and ready to go for Spring Training in 2018.

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"I'm actually kind of excited to get moving on with the process of feeling healthy," Dickerson said Saturday. "... Just feels like an issue that just needs to be fixed, and once it is, I'll be able to move on from it. It's obviously extremely frustrating, but I've come to terms with it."

It will be Dickerson's second discectomy. He underwent the same procedure on a different disc at 15, having back spasms and nerve pain in his left knee and calf after football season. Similar to his previous experience, several attempts to rehab the injury with rest proved fruitless.

"You obviously never want to get cut on at that age," Dickerson said. "Battled through that for the whole summer. Just felt like you were fighting this uphill battle."

The previous surgery provided the relief Dickerson, 27, sought. He said he returned to playing three months later.

"Got 11 years of pretty good health out of it," Padres manager Andy Green said. "I think our hope right now is he gets another 11 years of really good health out of this surgery."

Dickerson hit .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs in 84 games as a rookie last year. Green has said on multiple occasions Dickerson would be batting cleanup for the Padres if he were healthy.

Dickerson, though, said he's managed to take advantage of his time off. Free from the stress of playing daily, Dickerson has regularly watched San Diego's games, approaching them from "a managerial standpoint." He hopes to be able to visit the Padres' clubhouse shortly after the team's next road trip.

"Sometimes, you take a step back when you're not in here," Dickerson said. "You don't have the emotions of doing well, going through wins and losses. Sometimes, you get to see the game from a different standpoint. You get to see where mistakes are made on the field, and you feel like by the time you can get back in there, you can hopefully correct those."

Worth noting

Right-hander Trevor Cahill (right shoulder) will make his second rehab start Wednesday for Triple-A El Paso. He'll receive an extra day of rest after starting Thursday for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore as the Padres try to give him ample time to recover, Green said.

• Left-hander Christian Friedrich is progressing toward a return from a left lat strain and left elbow soreness, pitching three innings and allowing six runs in a rehab start for El Paso last night. Green said Friedrich will need at least one more rehab start as he works to get extended.

• With right-hander Miguel Diaz on the 10-day disabled list with a right forearm strain, the Padres will skip the fifth starter's spot. Right-handers Luis Perdomo and Dinelson Lamet will start Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Both will be on regular rest thanks to an off-day Monday.

Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego.

San Diego Padres, Alex Dickerson