If history repeats itself, Thursday was an ominous development for Chase Headley.
Headley left Thursday's game against the Nationals with a right calf strain. After flying out in the top of the second inning in his first and only at-bat, Headley was replaced by Alexi Amarista at third base when the team took the field in the bottom half of the inning.
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Calf strains are worrisome enough, but compounding it is the fact that Headley dealt with the exact same injury this spring. The calf bothered him for a month, forcing him to miss much of the early exhibition season. He didn't miss any regular season games due to the injury, but his slow start -- Headley was hitting just .186/.250/.314 on the year before Thursday's setback -- could have been a result of his spring issues.
Given that Headley missed so much time his first go-round with the injury, it's not hard to imagine him winding up on the disabled list as a result of the re-injury. If that does happen, the most likely candidate to replace him in the lineup is Amarista. The 25-year-old doesn't offer much in the way of batting average or power, but he stole 120 bases in his minor league career and has three stolen bases in four attempts so far this year. Even so, Amarista shouldn't be on fantasy radars outside of the deepest NL-only leagues.
An interesting alternative, if the Padres desire to inject a more potent bat into the everyday lineup, would be to take a look at Yonder Alonso at the hot corner. Alonso was seen taking ground balls at third base before a game earlier this month, and he actually played an inning at third in a game against the Rockies last week. Playing Alonso at third base would allow Padres manager Bud Black to play a more offensively minded player -- Tommy Medica, Xavier Nady or, when Carlos Quentin returns, Seth Smith -- at first base.
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Griffin Seeking Second Opinion
On the same day Ivan Nova set a date for his Tommy John surgery, A.J. Griffin took a step back in his recovery from an elbow injury.
Griffin was shut down this spring with a flexor muscle strain in his right elbow, but he recently began doing exercises to strengthen the muscle in hopes of working his way back by May.
Instead, the 26-year-old will see a doctor next Tuesday to get a second opinion on his elbow. It became apparent during strengthening exercises that the elbow still wasn't 100 percent, necessitating the return trip to the exam room.
Anytime an elbow is involved the potential for requiring Tommy John surgery exists, but it's even more possible given Griffin's injury. For context, the flexor strain is the same injury Josh Johnson was diagnosed with in early April before recently undergoing the second Tommy John surgery of his career on Thursday.
Griffin isn't to that point yet -- the second opinion could show nothing wrong with the muscle, and Griffin could be back in the A's rotation by mid-May. But given the rash of Tommy John surgeries lately, it wouldn't be surprising if Tuesday's opinion bore bad news, either.
Fister Set For Rehab Start
In more pitcher-friendly news, Doug Fister is scheduled to make his first rehab start this weekend.
Fister, who's working back from a lat strain that's kept him from regular season action thus far, will start for the Nationals' High-A Potomac affiliate on Sunday. He'll make the start after he was able to throw a problem-free bullpen session on Thursday.
Fister will throw four innings in the start, and he'll need at least one more before rejoining the Nationals rotation. As it stands, the target date for a return is May 7, which is exactly two rotation turns from Sunday's rehab start.
Unless the Nats' rotation suffers another injury before his return, the most likely candidate to lose his rotation spot is Taylor Jordan. The 25-year-old is 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA and 1.71 WHIP through his first four starts. Tanner Roark, who also had to earn his spot this spring, has been much better, going 1-0 with a 3.80 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in his four starts.
National League Quick Hits: The Diamondbacks placed Mark Trumbo on the 15-day disabled list with a stress fracture in his left foot. He likely won't miss the six months he missed with a stress fracture in 2011, but it may require more than one 15-day stint on the DL ... Headley wasn't the only Padres regular to leave Thursday's game with a limp -- Seth Smith also exited early with a right groin strain. He'll be re-evaluated on Friday, and more will be known about the severity of the injury afterwards ... Mike Bolsinger earned his first career major league victory, allowing only an unearned run while striking out seven over 6 2/3 innings against the Cubs ... Mets manager Terry Collins said Wednesday that he'd be comfortable using Daisuke Matsuzaka in save situations, and he was true to his word Thursday. With Kyle Farnsworth unavailable, Collins called on Dice-K to close out the Mets' win over the Cardinals ... Justin Ruggiano was diagnosed with a Grade 2 strain of his left hamstring. A best-case scenario is a return in 3-4 weeks, so expect him to miss at least a month ... Danny Espinosa went 3-for-5 with a home run on Thursday and is now hitting .317/.377/.524 on the year. Reports of his death in 2013 appear to have been greatly exaggerated ... Alfredo Simon could be in potentially serious legal trouble after a woman filed a civil suit against him in Washington, D.C., on Thursday alleging he sexually assaulted her in April of last year.
American League Quick Hits: A day after being ejected for the presence of a foreign substance on his neck during Wednesday's game, Michael Pineda was suspended 10 games by MLB on Thursday. He'll miss just one start for the indiscretion, with David Phelps making the start in his place ... Yoenis Cespedes left Thursday's game against the Astros with a left hamstring strain. He's day-to-day and will likely miss much of the weekend, but the disabled list doesn't appear to be in play for the moment ... The Rangers are hoping Shin-Soo Choo (ankle) can avoid the DL. Choo hasn't played since Monday, when he injured the ankle stepping on first base ... The Orioles are targeting next weekend as a potential return timeframe for Manny Machado (knee). Machado will begin a rehab assignment with High-A Frederick on Friday ... Two weeks after losing his job as the A's closer, Jim Johnson could be back in the saddle sooner than later. A's manager Bob Melvin said Thursday that Johnson could be back in the ninth inning discussion given his performance of late ... Staying with the A's, third baseman Josh Donaldson continues to prove his 2013 breakout was no joke. The 28-year-old went deep twice on Thursday, giving him six homers, 18 RBI and a .910 OPS through 22 games ... Ivan Nova's Tommy John surgery is set to take place on Tuesday ... The Red Sox optioned Brock Holt to Triple-A, clearing the way for Will Middlebrooks' return to the hot corner at Fenway. The team also activated Shane Victorino on Thursday ... Gordon Beckham returned to the White Sox and to the lineup on Thursday, starting at second base. He pushed Marcus Semien to third base, and when Cole Gillaspie returns it may push Semien to a bench role and possibly even to the minors ... Oswaldo Arcia (wrist) will take batting practice on the field on Friday. Assuming it goes alright, he'll possibly be sent on a rehab assignment early next week ... Corey Kluber rolled over the Royals Thursday afternoon, striking out 11 while allowing an unearned run in a complete-game victory.