Dickerson at peace with taking time to rehab

Dickerson at peace with taking time to rehab

PEORIA, Ariz. -- While Alex Dickerson would love to be hitting the field with his teammates and going through the routines of Spring Training, he knows he has to give his back time to heal if he wants to come back strong and stay there.

One day after the Padres announced that Dickerson has a bulging disk in his back and will be out of action for 3-4 weeks -- meaning he won't be ready for Opening Day -- the 26-year-old outfielder was in the team's clubhouse and prepared to do the one thing his back needs the most right now: rest.

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"I don't want to say it's a relief being told that you've got to rest three or four weeks, but having a game plan on how you're going to heal and eventually put it on the back burner and not have to worry about it, that kind of helps my mind a little bit," Dickerson said on Friday. "I've just got to focus on what I can do now and let it heal."

Dickerson came into camp with a head of steam, hoping to do whatever he could to ensure he's on the field for Opening Day after some struggles down the stretch last year. He did do everything he could but the back issue was a roadblock from early in camp, keeping him out of Cactus League play until March 11 -- the one and only game he played before back spasms sent him to a spine specialist in San Diego earlier this week.

Now, the main thing Dickerson has to exercise is patience. After about two weeks of full rest, he'll begin work to strengthen his core and then work his way back into baseball activities. That patience will be tested the longer he's out and the closer we get to Opening Day.

"You get anxious," Dickerson said. "Sort of what made me want to rush in the first place was we always had the pressure of Opening Day looming over your head. Once you take Opening Day off the table and you've just to focus on yourself feeling good, there is a little bit of relief.

"Once it all starts happening, you're going to get anxious. You're going to see all your buddies playing and see your team out there and you're going to want to be out there with them. But I've got to focus on what I can do to make sure when I am back out there, I don't have to miss any more time."

Padres manager Andy Green said Friday that he's glad to see Dickerson has the mentality he'll need to make this a relatively short-term issue with the happy ending of as much of the season as he can play once he's healthy again.

"He's frustrated. He's a competitor. He wants to be out on the baseball field. He wants to be getting ready for a game," Green said. "But he understands the wiser course of action right now, and I think he's going to handle it very well. It's just a slow couple of weeks for him before he starts re-engaging in activities."

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.