The past two years have been hard on everyone, including Corey Dickerson.
In the last 24 months, the outfielder has suffered a foot injury that held him out for seven weeks, was traded to a new team from a different country playing in a minor league park, and had his grandfather and father die.
“These two years,” Dickerson said, “They’ve probably been the toughest two years of my life.”
Dickerson’s father, Tim, found out he had kidney cancer shortly after Dickerson’s grandfather died last year. Tim was at all of Dickerson’s games dating back to little league, he said, and was always a phone call away. The lefty used to have a short temper growing up and his father would keep him in check, put him in the right head space during baseball games.
Tim went through a lot in the last years of his life, Dickerson said, and it’s that resilience — coming back every single day, even when you’re hurting — that the outfielder takes from his father.
“His grit, perseverance, and love will always motivate me to be a great husband, father, and friend,” Dickerson wrote in an Instagram post.
Attending his father’s funeral during the MLB all-star break and rehabbing his injury in Buffalo for the last week, Dickerson hasn’t been able to fully integrate with his new teammates, but he’s thankful for the few connections he does have in Toronto.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo was Dickerson’s third base coach in Tampa Bay, later becoming the bench coach, and Dickerson called him an “amazing person.” He was excited to join Toronto because of his comfortability with Montoyo, being able to talk to him about anything.
“I’ve had a lot going on,” Dickerson said. “So it’s nice to have someone familiar.”
Montoyo lauded Dickerson when the team acquired him alongside Adam Cimber at the end of June, calling the lefty a gamer who’s always dirty because he plays so hard. Dickerson had his best season with Montoyo's Rays in 2017, earning an all-star appearance and hitting 27 homers. In 2021, Dickerson is posting the lowest OPS of his career (.699) but could be a rare and valuable left-handed bat for the Blue Jays offense.
The outfielder stepped into the Rogers Centre batter’s box for the first time Monday, taking swings as he works back from the left-foot injury that held him out since June 13. Montoyo hinted his return could come this week, but Dickerson doesn’t care about his role, he’s just happy to be back grinding with 25 teammates. There were moments in the last two years where things snowballed, Dickerson said, but he's back from his foot contusion, overcoming just the latest challenge.
“I like to say I carry [my father’s] resilience with me,” Dickerson said.