SAN FRANCISCO -- A member of the staff watched the Giants take BP earlier this week and quietly said, "We really need Dickerson back."
It's going to be a bit longer than hoped.
Alex Dickerson, the spark plug for that July run, will not be ready to come off the Injured List when eligible, manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged. Dickerson can first return from an oblique strain on Sunday, but he has only just begun throwing and running. He's not taking batting practice yet and Bochy said he might need a short rehab assignment to test things out.
"He's making some progress but that oblique area is something that takes longer than you're hoping," Bochy said.
The lineup has gone back into a funk without Dickerson, who is batting .346 with an OPS over 1.000 but has been limited by back and oblique pain. Bochy tried Stephen Vogt, his consistently productive backup catcher, in left on Tuesday. He said there might be more of that.
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There may be other changes, too, for a lineup that once again can't keep pace. Pablo Sandoval will see more time at first in place of Brandon Belt and Bochy plans to play Donovan Solano more.
On Wednesday the Giants managed nothing against struggling right-hander Joe Ross, who threw six shutout innings two days after Erick Fedde did the same. They lost 4-1 and got swept by the Nationals.