I have to admit, I honestly didn’t think we’d see Chase Headley at third for the San Diego Padres come opening day; I just couldn’t see it happening.
Hear me out; here’s a guy heading into the most crucial season of his career, a career shaping season that will be highly dictated by performance. A good season could equal a huge payday, a trade to a contender — or both. A bad season, however, could mean a missed opportunity for that huge payday and a real sour fanbase in San Diego.
With that said, after suffering a calf injury early in camp — which happens to be one of the most easily re-aggravated injuries you can have — I felt given the personal circumstances surrounding this season Headley would be overly cautious which would delay his return.
Whelp, I was wrong. Headley returned to the lineup for Thursday’s 11-3 loss against the San Francisco Giants, not only returning to the lineup, but playing third-base as well.
The fact that Headley was at third speaks volumes about his health because the team could’ve easily waited to play him in a spring game against an American League opponent where he could DH and not have to test his calf at the hot-corner if they felt there was any chance of re-injury.
Headley went hit-less in two at bats, but I don’t think anybody, including Headley himself, had a problem with that fact. Honestly, Headley could probably could go hit-less the rest of Cactus League play and it wouldn’t be a problem as long as he’s healthy and in the lineup opening day.
The last thing the Padres can afford to deal with this season are prolonged injuries to key players, and Headley definitely falls into the category of a key player. It looks as if the team dodged a bullet this time with Headley, and I’m sure the organization couldn’t be happier.