Chase Headley is ready to return from the disabled list. "We're close," San Diego manager Bud Black said Tuesday before the Padres' second straight win at Dodger Stadium. Like maybe Wednesday close. And certainly no later than Friday night. It is almost certain that Headley will rejoin the Padres on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. The Padres fly to San Francisco after Wednesday night's game for a weekend series against the Giants. Headley will be on the plane. The only question is when Headley will be activated from the disabled list. It could be Wednesday, but it might not be until Friday. On Tuesday, Headley completed a four-game rehab assignment with Class A Lake Elsinore by playing five innings at third base for the second straight game and going 1-for-3. He went 3-for-12 (.250) for Lake Elsinore. Headley has been sidelined since he broke the bone at the tip of his left thumb on March 17. The Padres desperately need Headley's bat back in their lineup. He was the National League's Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winner at third base last season, when he hit 31 homers and led the league with 115 RBIs. At the moment, the Padres are without their projected Nos. 3-4-5 hitters in Headley, Carlos Quentin and Yasmani Grandal, but Headley's return will create a problem. Because Quentin is serving an eight-game suspension for charging Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke on Thursday, the Padres have to play a man short with a 24-man roster. Currently, the Padres are playing without a spare infielder, meaning they must move an outfielder to make room for Headley's return. Mark Kotsay suffered a mild hamstring strain last Saturday, so he's a candidate for the disabled list. Also, struggling center fielder Cameron Maybin, who is hitting .091, a late scratch from Tuesday's lineup due to a recurring wrist injury. The guess is that Maybin will go on the 15-day disabled list when Headley is ready to be activated. Grandal is serving a 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's policy prohibiting performance-enhancing drugs.
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