This is a real bummer: The San Diego Padres have no choice but to head into opening day without their top slugger, third baseman Chase Headley. The team announced Monday that Headley will miss four to six weeks because of a fracture on the tip of his left thumb. His thumb is in a splint, but no surgery will be required. That's the good news, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports:
“Four weeks is optimistic,” Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said Monday afternoon. “We’ve heard anything from four to six weeks.”
Headley slid into second base trying to break up a double play in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, but jammed his thumb trying to hang onto the bag. The Angels turned the double play anyway.
Update: Headley says it could be worse, telling Padres broadcaster Andy Masur:
"It's closer to the thumb tip than where all the tendons & ligaments attach....it's probably the best place to happen on the thumb"
That's the only thing not making this injury a total bummer.
Headley hit .286/.376/.498 with 31 home runs at cavernous Petco Park in 2012, a breakthrough season for him at age 28. Headley also won a Gold Glove. Replacing him with anyone is a tall order, but the Padres also have struggled to keep healthy this spring, having lost eight players to injury over the past three weeks. Those banged up include Logan Forsythe, who hasn't played since March 8 because of plantar fasciitis (he also missed the first 10 days of camp because of a sore knee). Forsythe apparently lost the second base job to rookie Jedd Gyorko, but would play third in Headley's absence if he's able. If not, Gyroko will go back to third (his primary position in the minors) and Alexi Amarista will move to second temporarily.
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The Padres probably don't want to jerk Gyrko around like that, but he played shortstop in college and probably would roll with whatever. So, the Padres have decent options. It's just kind of a mess. And a bummer, without Headley.
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