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.
The Athletics are tied for first place in the AL West for the first time since Opening Day. They took the first of a three-game series against the Astros on Friday with a wild (and controversial) overturned replay call in the ninth and Matt Olson‘s decisive walk-off home run in the 10th — the first of his career to date — then returned on Saturday and bested the Astros 7-1 to take first place.
Saturday’s win was less of a nail-biter than Friday’s had been, but its rewards were just as sweet. Trevor Cahill led the A’s through the first seven innings of one-hit, seven-strikeout ball, backed by seven runs on five RBI doubles from Khris Davis, Matt Olson, Stephen Piscotty and Josh Phegley. All told, the four players struck eight doubles to tie the franchise single-game record.
The Astros, meanwhile, were stymied by both Cahill and the A’s bullpen through the first eight innings of the game. Following Cahill’s seven shutout innings, Jeurys Familia took the ball in the eighth and blanked the Astros to preserve the seven-run lead. Yusmeiro Petit wasn’t quite so lucky: with one out in the top of the ninth, he pitched to a full count against Tony Kemp, then saw his 90.1-MPH fastball returned to right field for a home run. That was the first and last time the Astros crossed home plate, however, as Kyle Tucker popped out to third base and Alex Bregman cemented the loss with a fly ball to right.
Entering Saturday’s game, the Astros had not been out of first place since June 13, when they played second fiddle to the now third-place Mariners. They’ll share first-place honors with the Athletics until Sunday’s finale; it’ll take a series sweep for Oakland to take the lead in the division, but they’ve already delivered incredible results over the last two weeks (and it’s worth noting, as MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart pointed out, that Houston has now lost seven of their last eight games). The A’s climbed out of the no. 3 spot at the start of August and have steadily progressed toward first place ever since, driven by two separate four-win streaks and their two decisive wins this weekend. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle also notes that the club has not been in first place in a non-April month since August 25, 2014 — the last year they qualified for the playoffs.