Third baseman Chase Headley, the MVP of the San Diego Padres last year, left today’s split-squad game against the Angels with a thumb injury, reports MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez:
Headley singled in the top of the first inning, putting his Cactus League batting average at .448, but he appeared to hurt the thumb while sliding into second base to break up a double play later in the frame.
The 28-year-old switch-hitter played third base in the bottom half of the frame, but was replaced by Jeudy Valdez in the second inning and left the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex before speaking with the media. He is day to day.
On Twitter, Corey Brock reported that Headley had an x-ray taken and will likely miss Monday’s game against the Cubs.
Headley and the Padres agreed to a one-year, $8.575 million deal at the end of January, avoiding arbitration. He is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season, and as a result, rumors have paired the Padres with a handful of potential trade partners. However, Andy Martino reports the Padres will wait to see how the club fares during the 2013 regular season before deciding to offer him an extension or trade him.
Headley hit 31 home runs with a league-leading 115 RBI, earning himself a fifth-place finish in NL MVP award balloting last season.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.