CLEVELAND -- Chris Dickerson's path to Pittsburgh was blocked by the Pirates' young and talented outfield and he had a week remaining until the out clause in his contract could be exercised. Cleveland helped expedite his escape from Triple-A Indianapolis.
On Monday, the Indians acquired Dickerson from Pittsburgh in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations. The Tribe immediately threw him into the fold, giving him the nod in left field for the opener of a four-game series against the Yankees at Progressive Field.
"It was unexpected," Dickerson said on Monday. "I did have an out in my contract coming up on [July] 15, so I guess Christmas came early."
With center fielder Michael Bourn on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring injury and expected to be sidelined for three to four weeks, Cleveland traded for the 32-year-old Dickerson to add some insurance for its outfield. In order to add Dickerson to the active roster, the Indians designated catcher George Kottaras for assignment.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona indicated that Dickerson would likely play left field, especially against right-handed pitching. When Dickerson does patrol left, All-Star Michael Brantley would shift from left field to center.
Dickerson has batted .262 with a .339 on-base percentage, 15 homers and 32 steals across parts of six Major League seasons with the Reds, Brewers, Yankees and Orioles (2008-13). This year, he compiled a .309 batting average with seven homers, 15 doubles, 30 RBIs and 44 runs in 65 games with Indianapolis.
The rapid rise this season of Pirates prospect Gregory Polanco -- combined with the presence of Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte -- hindered Dickerson's road back to the big leagues with Pittsburgh.
"[He's] a guy who, under normal circumstances probably would be in the big leagues with us," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said this week. "But we've got three pretty good outfielders here, blocked Chris' way. But he's a guy who's probably deserving of a Major League opportunity."
Indians first baseman Nick Swisher, who played with Dickerson in New York, was thrilled to have him with the Tribe.
"With where we are with Mike, we needed a little help out there," Swisher said. "C.D. is one of those guys, he's got tremendous strength, he can fly, he's got an absolute cannon. I just think bringing over a guy like that, especially at a time like this when we really need it, I think is really going to be able to help us."