Chase Headley leaves game with jammed thumb

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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.

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

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Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.