SAN DIEGO: San Diego’s youth movement began long before Alex Dickerson’s bruised hip prevented him from settling into the clean-up spot, before rookie Jose Rondon collected his first major league hit in his first start at shortstop on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Nothing can slow it down now.
With the departing Matt Kemp removed from the lineup before the start of a 2-1 victory earned on Adam Rosales’ 10th-inning, walk-off homer, last-minute juggling had Wil Myers shifting from first base to right field for the second time this season, Brett Wallace moving from third to first and temporarily into Kemp’s clean-up spot and Rosales sliding into the lineup at third.
Sunday figures to bring a new alignment altogether now that Kemp — the two-time All-Star who originally coined A.J. Preller’s “Rock Star G.M.” persona upon his arrival two Decembers ago – has followed Andrew Cashner, Melvin Upton, Drew Pomeranz, Fernando Rodney and James Shields out the door.
With him, the 31-year-old Kemp takes a bat that had slugged .759 with seven homers in 13 games since the All-Star break, the sort of production that the Padres hoped Dickerson might replicate with regular at-bats.
The 26-year-old Dickerson — a .382 hitter this year at Triple-A El Paso — had homered in four straight games when Green inserted him as his clean-up hitter on Friday for the second time this year only to have a first-inning collision prevent him from taking any swings in that spot.
His initial X-rays negative, a sore Dickerson said Saturday afternoon that he didn’t expect his right hip contusion to keep him out of the lineup long.
More importantly, he didn’t believe the time off would interrupt his rhythm at the plate.
“It’s frustrating (to be out now), but I’m confident that as soon as it feels good I’ll get that right back,” said Dickerson, who was 9-for-18 with seven RBIs over his last four games.
Before Rosales’ walk-off homer, second quiet night at the plate threatened to waste Christian Friedrich’s first quality start since June 12.