Chase Headley to make Cactus League debut Thursday

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Corey Brock of reports that Padres third baseman Chase Headley will get at-bats in a minor league game on Wednesday and will then make his debut in the 2014 Cactus League on Thursday.

Headley suffered a Grade 1 strain of his right calf in late February and has been taking it easy in Padres camp so that the injury doesn’t linger into the regular season. He expects to be 100 percent healthy for Opening Day, though his swing timing might be slightly off because of a lack of work in live games.

Headley got a late start to the 2013 season due to a fractured thumb and wound up posting an underwhelming .749 OPS with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 141 games. He finished the 2012 campaign with an .875 OPS, 31 home runs, and 115 RBI.

The 29-year-old is currently scheduled to become a free agent five days after the 2014 World Series.

Red Sox sign Christian Vazquez to three-year, $13.55 million extension

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The Red Sox signed catcher Christian Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55 million extension, per a team announcement on Saturday. The agreement will keep Vazquez under contract through the 2021 season and covers two years of arbitration eligibility and the catcher’s first year of free agency. It comes with a $7 million club option (and $250,000 buyout) for 2022 that could get bumped up to $8 million if he reaches 502 plate appearances in both 2020 and 2021. Vazquez has also volunteered to make an annual donation to the Red Sox Foundation as part of his new arrangement with the club.

The 27-year-old backstop is entering his fourth year with the Red Sox in 2018. He’s been a steady defender behind the dish over the last three years and was ranked fifth-best in defense among all American League catchers at the end of the 2017 season. He also enjoyed a breakout performance at the plate, slashing a career-best .290/.330/.404 with five home runs and a .735 OPS in 345 plate appearances.

Come Opening Day, Vazquez is expected to be the Red Sox’ primary option behind the plate, with veteran Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart poised to start in backup roles. Swihart is out of options, but has been groomed for a utility role this spring and could take a few reps in the left field and the infield corners if need be, as it doesn’t appear the club is prepared to trade him just yet.