Chase Headley suffers calf strain

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Bad news for the Padres this afternoon, as Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that third baseman Chase Headley has suffered a right calf strain. Headley is using crutches as a precaution and believes that the injury will cost him a couple of weeks, but Jeff Sanders of UT-San Diego writes that more should be known following an MRI, which will likely take place on Monday.

This is the second straight year that Headley has suffered an injury during spring training, as he fractured the tip of his left thumb last March and didn’t make his season debut until April 17. The 29-year-old ended up hitting .250/.347/.400 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI over 141 games and required arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in October. He’s hoping to bounce back in his walk year, but his health isn’t doing him any favors.

The Padres traded Logan Forsythe to the Rays last month, so if Headley needs to miss the start of the season, they could go with Jedd Gyorko at third base and Alexi Amarista at second base.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉