CLEVELAND — Chris Dickerson had an out in his contract with Pittsburgh on July 15 that he could pursue an offer from another Major League team. As he said on Monday "Christmas came early."
The Indians acquired Dickerson on Monday for a player to be named later or cash. Dickerson spent the entire season with the Pirates Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis, where he was eighth in the International League with a .309 batting average, third in on-base percentage .407 and fifth in OPS (,886).
A big reason why the Indians made the move is that they are expected to be without Michael Bourn and Nyjer Morgan for the foreseeable future. Bourn will be out the next 3-4 weeks after an MRI on Sunday confirmed a mild to moderate strain of the left hamstring.
Bourn strained his hamstring on Saturday while scoring a run during the eighth inning of the Indians 7-3 win over Kansas City. It is his fourth hamstring-related injury in the past nine months and second time he has been placed on the DL this season.
"It is a little more significant than we all hoped," said manager Terry Francona about the injury. "It shows that he is a pretty tough kid and wanted to try to play this weekend. A lot (of the timetable) will be determined when we leave for the All-Star break and how he feels. If he starts to be pain free that return would be quicker."
Morgan, who sprained the PCL right knee while making a catch in Toronto on May 14, is set for a second opinion this week with Dr. Christopher Parker in Santa Barbara, Calif. Francona wouldn’t say that Morgan, who is rehabbing at the team facility in Goodyear, Ariz., had a setback.
"I think this gives us another guy to play against right-handed pitching and complements us with (Ryan) Raburn, (Tyler) Holt and that group of guys," said Francona of Dickerson.
This is Dickerson’s fifth different team in the Majors. He debuted with the Reds in 2008 and has also been with the Brewers, Yankees and Orioles. In 314 Major League games he has a .262 average with 15 home runs and 60 RBI.
Dickerson signed with the Pirates thinking he would have a shot of making it but with Gregory Polanco’s breakout year, there was nowhere on the Major League roster for Dickerson and he spent the year in the minors.
"Anytime you are in the minors you are playing for all 30 teams," Dickerson said. "You go out and prepare just like you would any other game. I’m excited to be here. I played with Swish (Nick Swisher with the Yankees) and I’ve known Mike (Aviles) for 15 years. It’s a lively clubhouse."
Dickerson was in the lineup on Monday as the Indians opened a four-game series with the Yankees and got a single in his second at-bat in the fifth inning. Dickerson played in left field with Michael Brantley in center.
Dickerson said that his natural position is center but Francona indicated that Brantley would be the first option there.
To make room for Dickerson, the Indians designated catcher George Kottaras for assignment. Francona said that Carlos Santana would be the backup catcher for now and that they would assess their options.
PAPI IN ATTENDANCE: Mike Papi, who was the 38th overall pick in the MLB Draft, was at Progressive Field on Monday taking in the game. He will report to Mahoning Valley on Tuesday after signing last Thursday.
Papi, an outfielder/first baseman who played at the University of Virginia, hit .307 with 11 doubles, 11 home runs and 55 RBI as the Cavaliers advanced to the College World Series and lost in the championship round to Vanderbilt. Papi was the first player from Virginia to lead the ACC in home runs since 1978 and also earned All-America and All-ACC honors. He also led the ACC in batting in 2013 with a .381 average.
CAMPAIGNING: Teammates wore #VoteKluber T-shirts during batting practice. The hashtag was also on the first- and third-base sides. Voting on MLB.com continues until Thursday at 4 p.m.