SCOTTSDALE — There will be plenty of COVID-19 protocols that the 750-1,000 fans at Scottsdale Stadium will have to follow once Cactus League action begins.
Included should be mandatory helmets and body armor for fans in the left-field seats.
Alex Dickerson, owner of a very dry and funny sense of humor, made a habit of targeting cutouts last year whenever he retrieved a foul ball — which he had to do in a season without ball boys/girls down the line.
Throwing baseballs at cutouts will always be funny 😂 pic.twitter.com/MXNv5Qt5N4
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 6, 2020
He’ll have to make sure the habit dies when the faces in the stands become sentient.
“Hopefully I don’t instinctually throw it in there and there’s people there,” Dickerson said with a laugh on Tuesday. “Might have to work that out of my system.”
He should be OK getting his mind right. His body’s working, too.
Dickerson endured his first healthy season in 2020, with all the asterisks that came with it. He played in 52 of the 60 games last year, with a few missed when he tended to his wife to see the birth of their first child, a son. He stayed healthy — no significant back issues after multiple back surgeries and a Tommy John surgery made him available to the Giants in the first place.
He stayed healthy while dealing with protocols that greatly limited his access to the park and its trainers, needing to cut down a getting-ready process that had taken about 2 1/2 hours.
Now it’s a finely tuned process that has been boiled down to about an hour and is giving him hope he can last for a full 162-game season for the first time.
“We do have a routine — I have it written down — of daily body-part stuff I want to hit every day,” Dickerson said over Zoom. “It’s just getting older and having better plans put together. You build them throughout your career to this point.
“Really as soon as I walk in, we get right to work; hey, we’re going to work out the range up here or we’re loosening up my hips. It’s always a work in progress.”
The Giants’ left-field plan hinges upon that routine working out. He and Darin Ruf were formidable together last year, Dickerson hammering righties (.947 total OPS) and Ruf attacking lefties (.887 total OPS).
This year the duo has been returned, with LaMonte Wade now in the mix, too, for at-bats from the left side in the outfield. Mike Yastrzemski, Mauricio Dubon, Austin Slater and Steven Duggar are still around, joined in camp by prospects Heliot Ramos and Hunter Bishop, who are “freakishly athletic,” Dickerson said. “Both would be tough to deal with on a football field, that’s for sure.”
“Everyone can run a little bit, everyone’s got a pretty good bat,” he added. “It’s a big group of guys, we’ll see how it plays out through camp.”