What Giants' Alex Dickerson recalls from his memorable debut last year

What Giants' Alex Dickerson recalls from his memorable debut last year

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area will air Alex Dickerson's Giants debut tonight at 8 p.m. PT

Alex Dickerson had two singles and an RBI for the Sacramento River Cats last June 20, but that certainly didn't stand out in the box score. The River Cats lost 11-10 that night in Las Vegas, with all nine starters getting at least one hit and Anthony Garcia and Henry Ramos going deep.

But as Dickerson headed back to the hotel that night, he knew he had turned a corner. He had been designated for assignment two weeks earlier and had just three hits in six games for his new organization's Triple-A affiliate. Dickerson, however, felt like something had clicked during his 2-for-5 performance. 

"The swings felt good and I was like, 'Oh, I think tomorrow might be the day,'" Dickerson said. "The ball was coming off the bat hot. It felt like tomorrow was going to be the day."

The next day ended up being a historic one for Dickerson -- but not in the minors.

Dickerson was woken up early the next morning when River Cats manager Dave Brundage called his hotel room. A few hours later he walked into Chase Field, where a reliever asked if he was a minor league coach joining the staff for a few days. Dickerson was called into Bruce Bochy's office and told he might be activated.

Half an hour later, Bochy told Dickerson he would be starting in left field. 

"I just kind of let it all come to me as it was coming to me," Dickerson recalled Monday. "Being older and knowing the ropes, I just went with it. I had an empty head the whole day. I was a little tired."

Perhaps that was a good thing. With a clear head and a red-hot Kevin Pillar on base ahead of him every time he looked up, Dickerson had a memorable debut in orange and black, one that will air on NBC Sports Bay Area tonight. He singled in his first at-bat, hit a grand slam the second time up, and added a two-run triple in the seventh.

Dickerson drove in six runs and became the first Giant in 22 years with eight total bases in his debut. He joined Bobby Bonds and Brandon Crawford as the only San Francisco Giants to hit a grand slam in their first game.

"You can't have a better debut than that," Bochy said that night.

As he looked back at the performance in a phone call Monday, Dickerson said it felt like everything slid into place. He hadn't played in the big leagues the previous two seasons but he was up with the Padres before that and much of his rehab was done in the Phoenix area, so he was very familiar with Chase Field. He didn't know many of the Giants, but hitting coach Alonzo Powell had been in San Diego earlier in his career and helped Dickerson settle in during BP. The opposing starter, Taylor Clarke, had pitched in the minors earlier in the year and Dickerson homered off him in Triple-A in April. 

"The stars kind of aligned," Dickerson said. "It was an interesting scenario for me. The group was so laid-back and welcoming right away and I think that's where performances like that kind of come out, because it was a well-oiled machine. You could see how comfortable all the players were and I'd always gotten to see that from the other dugout. You could always see the way the Giants gelled.

"I could count a thousand times where you see them call someone up and you didn't think much of them in Triple-A and they would just kill it all the time. That's how the organization is run. It's laid-back but professional."

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That started at the top, with a manager who wasn't afraid to throw a veteran into the mix on his first day. Dickerson, who lives not far from Bochy in the San Diego area, said one of the coolest parts of that memorable debut was heading back to the dugout after his grand slam. 

"I still remember seeing Bochy's face as I came in from home plate," he said. "It was a weird moment. I grew up watching him. He was the manager of the Padres and I had seen that face on TV many times after guys had hit home runs.

"It was pretty cool seeing that during a game."

Buster Posey misses third Giants workout for personal reasons, per Gabe Kapler

Buster Posey misses third Giants workout for personal reasons, per Gabe Kapler

The Giants went through their sixth day of work at Oracle Park on Thursday. For the third time, the longtime franchise star was not in the building. 

Buster Posey again missed the workout Thursday for personal reasons and "is still working through some things," per manager Gabe Kapler. 

"Buster is still working through a personal issue, and I want to respect his privacy," Kapler said. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Posey reported to camp Saturday and spoke with reporters, admitting he still had some reservations about playing this season during the coronavirus pandemic. The Poseys have two young children and he noted he would pay attention to how things looked at camp but also around society in general. 

During an appearance on KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks," president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said earlier Thursday that the Giants would respect any decision Posey makes. 

"I think he's continuing to evaluate things on a day-to-day basis and frankly I think there's a few guys in that boat, certainly guys with young families, and certainly Buster is in that boat," Zaidi said. "It's something else to think about. I don't want to get into other personal things that he may be thinking through. Ultimately we're going to respect the decisions that our players make."

Posey isn't the only player mysteriously missing from camp. Center fielder Billy Hamilton and left-handed reliever Jarlin Garcia were both expected to be on the Opening Day roster, but neither has been seen and both were placed on the 10-day Injured List. Kapler has said a couple of times that he cannot reveal more information about the two. 

"That's all I can share on that front," he said Thursday after confirming they were on the IL for medical purposes.

Teams are not allowed to reveal any information related to COVID-19 tests if players do not give permission, although it's not totally clear what the situation is with Hamilton and Garcia. In Posey's case, the initial tests came back negative, and he was a full participant in workouts over the weekend. 

[RELATED: Giants' list of prospects in camp has many intriguing names]

Like Zaidi, Kapler reiterated that the Giants will back any decision Posey makes, regardless of what that means for a team that currently doesn't have a clear favorite to even back up Posey. Rob Brantly and Tyler Heineman are fighting for that job

"Because of what we're up against right now, we're going to take a family-first approach to this," he said. "We will take it on as a responsibility to scramble as necessary but we don't want to rush these personal decisions and we want to respect and honor the stresses that people have that we may not be seeing."

Giants' tentative 2021 MLB schedule includes odd Opening Day quirk

Giants' tentative 2021 MLB schedule includes odd Opening Day quirk

Have you fully digested the 2020 MLB schedule that was released on Monday? Good, because here comes the 2021 schedule! 

MLB released full schedules for next season, and the Giants once again open on the road, but this time in unfamiliar territory. For the first time in club history, the Giants will begin the season in an interleague park with a series in Seattle starting April 1. The Giants play their home opener April 9 against the Rockies. Here's the full schedule:

This will be the 12th consecutive season that the Giants open on the road, something they generally ask for so that they can finish the season at home and have more dates at Oracle Park when kids are out of school over the summer. They will begin the 2020 season in Los Angeles in two weeks (maybe).

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The 2020 season kept teams in their own region as much as possible, which means that the Giants will play the AL West two consecutive years. They were supposed to play the AL Central this season. The Giants will visit the Texas Rangers' new park next June and also have road series in Anaheim and Oakland, in addition to that opener in Seattle. The schedule includes the usual slate of trips to New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, etc., so MLB is at least planning for the likelihood that society and travel are a bit more back to normal next year. 

If fans are allowed back into Oracle Park, there are a few series that stand out. 

[RELATED: Everything to know about the MLB season restart, Giants]

Mike Trout and the Angels visit May 31, Madison Bumgarner's Diamondbacks come for the first time on June 14, and the Houston Astros visit July 31 if you have a lot of pent-up booing you would like to do at some point in 2021.