“If healthy” has been a popular phrase used in many conversations involving the San Diego Padres‘ 2014 season. From casual fans to diehards and even the baseball guys on television, the word health has been attached to the predicted level of success of this team. Things like “If healthy, the Padres can compete this year” or “Health is the key to the Padres’ season” seem to be the common observance in regards to this Padres team.
Well, so far so bad for the Padres in terms of health this spring. Due to recovery from surgeries in result of injuries suffered last season, the team has already been without starting catcher Yasmani Grandal and starting left-fielder Carlos Quentin thus far in spring training action. But those situations were known and their absences from spring training games early on was expected.
What wasn’t expected was the news that pitcher Corey Luebke would have a setback and would be forced to undergo yet another Tommy John surgery. That was followed by a Chase Headley calf injury that will sideline him for a minimum 2-3 weeks and most recently word that projected starting center fielder Cameron Maybin is already considered doubtful for the opener after injuring his shoulder in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers this past Sunday.
Maybin, who missed all but 14 games last season, entered camp with nothing but good things to say about his health. On a team where offensive production has been at a minimal, Maybin had been playing well, even launching his first homer this past Saturday which is a welcomed sign for a player coming back from wrist issues.
Maybin’s athleticism is such that not many other Padres players can match at this point, and his teammates as well as Padres fans were looking forward to having his presence in the lineup. He injured his shoulder while making an extra-base preventing diving catch, displaying his other value to the team with excellent defense. While the team awaits MRI results that will give everyone more clarity on the situation recovery wise, the fact that Padres’ manager Bud Black has already ruled Maybin out of the opener speaks volumes.
As far as Headley goes, anyone who knows sports injuries knows that calf injuries give hamstring injuries a run for its money in the easily re-injured department. And because of that I’m not too confident that Headley will be in the lineup come opening day. With his performance this season having such a huge impact on the rest of his career, you have to think Headley won’t step back on the field at less than 100 percent and with confidence that he will not re-injure himself.
If you couple the uncertainty of the availability of Quentin and Grandal entering the season with the likely absence of Headley and Maybin, Padres fans might want to prepare themselves for a possible slow start at the plate for the team this season. After so many injury-related absences last season, the injury issues early on this spring are an unfortunate situation. Here’s to a speedy recovery for these players, because as I mentioned before, if healthy the Padres can compete this season.
*Update: Maybin will miss 2-3 months due to a ruptured bicep tendon