The San Diego Padres will have to start the 2013 season without their gold glove third baseman, as Chase Headley is out after breaking the tip of his left thumb against the Los Angeles Angels Sunday. Headley was trying to break up a double play in the first inning of the game but will now miss four to six weeks.
The Padres have some depth in the infield and could go with Logan Forsythe while Headley is out. Forsythe played in 91 games for the Padres last season, hitting .273 with six home runs and 26 RBIs.
Losing Headley is more than just losing a third baseman, especially with the young Padres’ lineup. Headley hit .286 with 31 homers and 115 RBIs for the Padres in 2012, good enough for fifth in the NL MVP voting. He also won an NL Silver Slugger Award though the Padres finished well out of playoff contention in the West.
The 28-year-old was hitting .448 this spring in 29 at-bats before breaking his thumb, forcing the Padres to find a replacement within their system. There is no way the Padres will look to trade for a new third baseman, as Headley should be back two weeks into the new season.
Outside of Forsythe, the Padres could go with Jedd Gyorko at third. Gyorko spent most of the 2012 season in the minor leagues but has hit .298 this spring with 3 homers and 10 RBIs. Gyorko and Forsythe will more than likely both start on Opening Day, the question is who will play second and who will play third.
James Darnell, who is listed as third on the Padres’ depth chart at third base behind Forsythe and Headley, will miss the next two weeks due to an oblique strain, so you can count him out for the starting job. The Padres open the season on the road against the New York Mets at Citi Field on April 1.
Chase Headley’s out with a broken left thumb, and Opening Day is a little less than two weeks away, making every decision an important one for manager Bud Black as spring training comes to an end.