Top Prospects: Alex Dickerson, OF, Padres

MIAMI -- The good news that came from the MRI that Padres outfielder Alex Dickerson had on his badly sprained ankle last month was that there was no ligament damage.

The bad news was a cyst was discovered on the left calcaneus (heel) bone that, if left untreated, might have eventually put Dickerson's career at risk if he suffered an injury to that particular area.

"They said the cyst caused some concerns for my career," Dickerson said. "When they first told me, I wanted to keep playing. But after talking with friends, family, coaches I decided to do it. They left [the decision] up to me. I didn't want to have something happen [injury to heel] down the road."

Dickerson said he's never once felt anything in his heel, which makes this injury a little more maddening for him.

"For a while, this was tough to grasp," he said. "But I'm at peace with it now."

The surgery was performed in San Diego on Thursday.

"This is something that we felt, that in the long-term was necessary for his career," said Padres assistant general manager A.J. Hinch.

Dickerson suffered a severely sprained left ankle late in Spring Training after a misstep while the Padres did morning exercises and warmup drills. He was going to begin the season on the disabled list and then likely join Triple-A El Paso once healthy.

Hinch said the heel surgery actually had nothing to do with the ankle sprain.

Hinch indicated that there was a small chance that Dickerson could recover in time to play late in the season, though the timeline might be tight given that the Minor League season typically ends the first week of September.

Dickerson will spend the first month on crutches but could be fitted with a walking boot after. He has been told by doctors that it might be four to five months before he can begin working out again. He'd like to get back sooner.

"I've always been a fast healer," he said. "I'm optimistic I can catch the tail end of the season."

Dickerson, in his first spring with the Padres, hit .280 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 25 at-bats during Cactus League play.

"I think everyone agrees this was a good for his long-term peace of mind," Black said.

Erlin ready for next start after long layoff

SD@MIL: Erlin pitches two hitless innings vs. Brewers

MIAMI -- There probably hasn't been a time in Robbie Erlin's professional career -- or even further back - when he's gone nearly two weeks between long outings.

That will be the case Monday when Erlin, the No. 5 starter in the Padres' rotation, will get his first start of the season on the road against the Indians.

Erlin's last start came on the team's final day in Arizona for Spring Training (March 26) when he threw 70 pitches (49 for strikes) over five scoreless innings in a relief outing against the Royals.

Erlin did get two outs on 12 pitches in Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Dodgers, but other than that, he has done more sitting than pitching.

"It definitely helped," Erlin said. "I'd gotten hot a few times [warmed up] the previous nights so for me it helped to get a feel for the mound again."

Erlin used some of that down time to his advantage last weekend when he got a good look at the Indians when the two teams played consecutive exhibition games at the University of San Diego.

"It was nice to get familiar with their lineup, who is going to be in there, where they're at in the box and what their approaches are," Erlin said. "We'll go over it [scouting report] more in-depth before the game. But it was good to familiarize myself with them."

San Diego manager Bud Black doesn't anticipate any issue in terms of rust or readiness when Erlin takes the mound Monday.

"I think by the time he gets to Cleveland he won't be, in my mind, too far away from feeling confident mentally and physically about how he can perform," Black said. "I feel good about where he is."

Black gets clarity on denied replay challenge

LAD@SD: Black on Ross' outing, denied challenge

MIAMI -- Two days after his unsuccessful challenge against the Dodgers, when Padres manager Bud Black was told he took too long to issue a challenge, there was a little more clarity to the situation.

But just a little, actually.

"Looking back on it, I probably should have run out there 10 seconds faster," Black said Friday prior to the Padres series opener against the Marlins.

"When you issue a challenge, it shouldn't take as long as it took me to pop out of the dugout. It's the same amount of time, but they [umpires] would rather have me on the field and not the dugout."

Black tried to challenge a call in the first inning on Yasiel Puig's sacrifice bunt. Black felt starting pitcher Tyson Ross' throw to first baseman Yonder Alonso didn't pull him off the bag, as first-base umpire Sean Barber indicated. Puig was given a sacrifice and Ross an error for the throw.

Black emerged from the dugout and indicated to Barber that he was going to challenge the call. But the next batter, Hanley Ramirez, was in the batter's box and Ross had the ball on the mound. Black said the umpires told him that the challenge wouldn't be allowed due to "time constraints" and that "he took too long" to issue the challenge.

"They don't want another play to start to develop," Black said. "We as managers have to go out quicker."

Black said he asked what the time constraints were, but he wasn't given an answer.

"I don't have a timer," Black said at the time.