JUPITER, Fla. (AP)Miami manager Don Mattingly isn’t concerned that free-agent acquisition Corey Dickerson’s is currently flirting with .150.
In fact, Mattingly’s barely noticed.
”Corey’s a guy I haven’t really paid, to be honest with you, a ton of attention to because I just know he’s always hit,” Mattingly said.
Dickerson appreciates the trust.
”I told somebody, I don’t even see him around,” Dickerson said, referring to Mattingly. ”He has other things to watch, I’m sure. I take pride in my work. They know that, so they trust me to do my work.”
An All-Star in 2017 with Tampa Bay, Dickerson signed a two-year, $17.5 million contract with Miami during the off-season.
Capable of playing all three outfield positions, Dickerson will primarily play left. Mattingly has given Dickerson some innings in center this spring but doesn’t plan to move him around during the season.
”It’s great to have versatility, but when you’re moving all over the field it’s not quite as easy as it sounds,” Mattingly said. ”You’re a lot more comfortable if you’re in a spot all the time.”
The fact that Dickerson won a Gold Glove with Pittsburgh in 2018 playing left field doesn’t hurt, either.
”I think I heard (Christian) Yelich say once he realized he could be the MVP that’s his expectation,” Dickerson said. ”After knowing you can do it, you hold yourself to that standard. You want to repeat. You want to do it again.”
Consistency of positioning holds for Dickerson’s spot in the batting order as well. Mattingly likes him in the No. 3 slot, a lefty hitting between righties Brian Anderson and Jesus Aguilar.
Dickerson doesn’t profile as a traditional power bat from the third spot. His career high for homers is 27 and he twice hit 24, but he’s never driven in is many as 80 runs in a season.
While Dickerson said it would be ”cool” to crack the 30 home run barrier, he understands that he’s a primarily a contact hitter – a player who’s hit better than .300 four times in seven seasons, including last season, which he split between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
”It’s about how can I help this team the most, whether that will be with more contact, getting on base, whatever,” Dickerson said. ”But I do want to impact the baseball. I do want to do a little bit more damage, especially in my zone, and not miss the pitches.”
Dickerson hadn’t been doing any damage early in spring, but he’s starting to worry less about the mechanics of his at-bats, settling comfortably into a swing that is finally starting to feel right.
One of his three spring hits came Wednesday against Houston heading into the Marlins off day. On Friday night against Washington he ripped a first-inning line drive that first baseman Jake Noll caught, fouled out to Noll three innings later, then grounded out to first.
”After I get my mechanics right, once I’ve simplified it and I know I’m doing it right, it’s like a peace,” Dickerson said. ”I’m relaxed. I don’t have to worry about what’s going wrong and why it is not working. What I’m doing is right. When I know everything is right, I rarely think about mechanics.”