Giants' Alex Dickerson having 'first normal offseason' in five years

Giants' Alex Dickerson having 'first normal offseason' in five years

The talent always has been there for Alex Dickerson. It's no surprise he was a third-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft or that he crushed the ball his first few years in the minor leagues. 

Like many other talented athletes in the past, injuries have been a tough bump in the road for the Giants outfielder. In reality, there have been multiple bumps with some crushing potholes. 

With spring training one month away, though, this is the most healthy Dickerson has been in years. 

"It's good," Dickerson told KNBR's Mark Willard on Tuesday when asked about his health. "Spent a little downtime letting my oblique really heal fully. It was pretty good by the end of the year, but it still definitely had some scar tissue and stuff that I had to work through. For the most part, it was the first normal offseason I've had in probably five years.

"Health's great and feeling good and ready for spring." 

The Giants acquired Dickerson from the San Diego Padres on June 10 last season, and he quickly became one of Farhan Zaidi's best moves in his early tenure as San Francisco's president of baseball operations. Dickerson, 29, made his Giants debut on June 21 and made quite the first impression in an 11-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks by going 3-for-5 with a homer, triple and six RBI. 

Dickerson hit .375 with two dingers and a 1.194 OPS in June and then was even better in July, batting .393 with four homers and a 1.237 OPS in 20 games. 

The Giants looked like they finally found a power-hitting left fielder. Fans were watching a lefty launch balls over the wall for the first time in years. But once again, injuries hampered Dickerson's season. 

"It's been tough, but it's more just been a game of patience," Dickerson said about his history with injuries. "I've always believed in myself, always believed that every injury was something that I was going to come back from. Having two season-long ones right out of the gate in spring training back-to-back years was ... you know, it was devastating." 

More than anything, Dickerson believes his past injuries have helped him understand his body better. He also has seen the vast improvements in the medical world and pointed to the differences between when he had back surgery at 15 years old compared to 10 years later at 25. He's focused on maintaining his health in 2020 and putting his bouts with his body behind him. 

Over 56 games with the Giants last season, Dickerson hit .290 with six homers, 26 RBI and an .880 OPS. He proved his talent when healthy and is excited to see what next season has in store. 

"We're gonna have a younger, hungrier group. Guys are really gonna want to prove themselves, so I think the energy's definitely going to be there," Dickerson said. "Any time you have a staff change, there's gonna be some adjustment period, but I think from staff down to the players we have a lot of guys who are hungry and want to prove something." 

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Dickerson already has met with new manager Gabe Kapler, too. The two had coffee in Orange County, and Dickerson came away with a glowing review of his new skipper. 

"I was impressed," Dickerson said. "He was very well prepared. Had a bunch of interesting question. He seems to have a plan set out for this group of guys." 

As long as he stays healthy, it's safe to say Dickerson will be a big part of Kapler's plans. 

Watch Heliot Ramos hit two-run homer in Giants' spring training game

Watch Heliot Ramos hit two-run homer in Giants' spring training game

Heliot Ramos likes the prime time lights.

The heralded Giants prospect proved it by crushing a two-run homer in Friday's split-squad spring training game against the Rockies at Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona.

The 20-year-old drove a 2-1 pitch from Colorado pitcher Carlos Estevez over the left center field wall. It was his first homer of the spring.

The Giants have high hopes for Ramos, whom they selected with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft.

Ramos is coming off a breakout 2019 season as he hit .306 with 13 homers in 77 games for High-A San Jose. That production earned him a late-season promotion to Double-A Richmond. He held his own with the Flying Squirrels, hitting .242 with three homers and 15 RBI in 25 games.

While Ramos wasn't a non-roster invitee to major league camp this spring, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi wouldn't put it past the native of Puerto Rico to reach the big leagues this season.

"We had guys last year work their way through two or three levels of the minors leagues so it's certainly something that he could do," Zaidi told NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic earlier in February. "I think both with him and Joey, just the injuries kind of slowed them down a little bit and maybe backed up their timetable for when they could potentially get to the big leagues this year, but we've talked about promoting guys aggressively when they kind of perform up to levels that warrant a promotion, and that'll be the case for both those guys."

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The future is looking bright for the Giants with Ramos and catcher Joey Bart on the cusp of major league stardom.

Wilmer Flores looks to add more power to Giants' lineup this season

Wilmer Flores looks to add more power to Giants' lineup this season

Wilmer Flores made history this offseason. He became the first player Farhan Zaidi signed to a multiyear contract with the Giants, when the veteran infielder inked his two-year deal earlier this month. 

Now that he's with the Giants in spring training, Flores is trying to add something to San Francisco that the team badly lacked last season: Power. It's not like that's what the 28-year-old is known for, though. 

Flores hit nine homers in 89 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season, but his .848 OPS was a career-high and his .487 slugging percentage was one point off the best of his career. 

"I've always been a guy who puts the ball in play," Flores said Friday on KNBR's "Murph & Mac Show." "I'm trying this year to hit the ball a lot more in the air. That's what I'm trying to do a lot more this year. Ground balls are not hits anymore. You gotta hit the ball in the air." 

From 2015-2018, however, he averaged 15 long balls per season and clearly has bought into baseball's power movement with more launch angle. 

Flores should have an interesting role on the Giants this season. The keyword around Gabe Kapler's spring training is "versatility." Mauricio Dubon already has embraced it, and Flores believes he can thrive anywhere around the infield. 

"In the infield, I can play anywhere if you want me to," Flores said.

But he clearly prefers a certain spot.

"If you ask me, I'll stay at second base," Flores said. 

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That position is full of competition for the Giants this season. Along with Flores and Dubon, Yolmer Sanchez -- who won an AL Gold Glove last season -- and Donovan Solano are vying for time as well. Flores played 64 games at second base and 16 at third last year. He also has plenty of time at shortstop and first base under his belt as well. 

Whether it's more defensive versatility or adding more power, Flores figures to be a key player for the Giants this season.