Dickerson singles for first big league hit

Padres rookie gets cup of coffee with club he grew up cheering on

Dickerson singles for first big league hit

SAN DIEGO -- Alex Dickerson was understandably emotional as he spoke to the media in the same clubhouse he dreamed of standing in when he was a youngster.

Before the Padres faced the Phillies on Friday night, the Poway, Calif., native talked about memories of playing Little League just down the street from where Petco Park stands and attending Padres' games at Qualcomm Stadium. He got a pinch-hit single in the 11th inning of the Padres' 4-3, 12-inning loss to the Phillies Friday night for his first Major League hit.

"It feels almost kind of normal -- being home again, being on West Coast time again. That's been a pleasant surprise," Dickerson said. "Being home, feels like home. It's where I grew up."

The left-handed outfielder was called up from Triple-A El Paso before Thursday's game against the Brewers in Milwaukee, filling in for Will Venable, who went on paternity leave.

After receiving the call that he was expected at Miller Park, it's been a whirlwind of emotions and travel for the 25-year-old.

"Since I got [to Miller Park at the] last second, I had to grab a cup of coffee and as soon as I walked out the anthem had started and that's when it hit me," Dickerson said. "I put the coffee down and sprinted out and then you kind of look around. You see that amount of people at a game and then you are like 'Oh, this is it, isn't it?'"

Dickerson got his first Major League at-bat Thursday, when he entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and flew out to right. He was hitting .306/.375/.508 with 10 home runs, 59 RBIs and 47 extra-base hits in 102 games with El Paso.

Since receiving the exciting news, Dickerson said he has read a lot of text messages from friends and family letting him know they already bought tickets for the game. He joked that his family might be more excited than he is about his homecoming.

"It's a great thrill for his family and all the people he knows," interim manager Pat Murphy said. "And just knowing inside that he made it to the Major Leagues in his hometown is just a beautiful story."

To get to the point where he is now has certainly been a journey for Dickerson, who severely sprained his left ankle in Spring Training 2014. That injury led to the discovery that he had cyst on the bone on his left heel. He later had surgery to remove the cyst.

"It's fulfilling to know that a little bit after a year you walk in and you finally got to step into this locker room for at least a day," Dickerson said.

Both Dickinson and Murphy understand the pressure that comes when you finally get your chance. Murphy said he gave Dickerson the advice to think about what is important now and what his proper intent is at the moment. Murphy, who spent time with Dickerson in El Paso and gave him the nickname 'Bronco' because of his tenacity, said that he has encouraged Dickerson to talk to other players about their experiences of finally making it to the Majors.

"I always said once I get here try to enjoy it no matter how long it is. I'm just going to try to continue working throughout the season wherever it is at," Dickerson said. "My biggest thing is that I know, it's going to be exciting, I just got to make myself feel normal."

Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.