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.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.