2/23/2014 4:00 P.M. ET
Without Headley, Black to experiment at third
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- With Chase Headley sidelined for at least two weeks with a strained right calf, the Padres have decided who will play third base in the interim.
San Diego manager Bud Black said four players in big league camp -- Alexi Amarista, Ryan Jackson, Alberto Gonzalez and Minor Leaguer Jace Peterson -- could see playing time at third base when Cactus League play begins Thursday.
"We'll mix and match over at third," Black said. "It's good for those guys. It will be great for those guys to get exposed to third base. They'll get some [at-bats], some playing time.
"We know what Chase can do. Here in the short term, it will be good to get those guys exposed. They are up for it."
Headley injured his calf Saturday during an infield rundown drill. He was on crutches as a precaution to keep some of the weight off his calf. He said Sunday morning that the calf was sore. He was scheduled to have an MRI exam Monday.
"It's going to be beyond two weeks," Black said.
Of the available players, Gonzalez has played the most at third base (81 games, 48 starts) over his Major League career. Amarista has played 10 big league games at the position, and Jackson, who is considered an above-average defender at shortstop, played three games at third base in 2013 for the Cardinals. Peterson is a shortstop by trade as well.
Headley's injury painfully familiar to Street
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Closer Huston Street was not happy to hear that teammate Chase Headley sustained a right calf strain on Saturday.
Street knows as well as anyone exactly how tricky that injury can be.
Street missed five weeks during the 2012 season with a left calf strain that he sustained while he ran from the mound to first base to cover a ground ball to the right side.
Then, a year ago, Street experienced the same type of injury to the same calf, although his recovery that time was a much quicker two weeks.
"It's a factor of severity. It's inside your body, so you can't see it; you're going completely off of feel," Street said. "Last year was totally precautionary. It was in the middle of the season and I tweaked it; I could still jog on it, and it healed pretty quickly.
"But in 2012 when I did it, I could hardly walk the next day. I could put zero pressure on it. Again, it's all about the severity of the strain."
Headley's injury, on initial review, does not sound too serious. He acknowledged he was sore Sunday, using crutches as a precaution, though he could put weight on the calf. He was set to have an MRI exam on Monday.
Either way, Street had some advice for Headley.
"I would tell when it feels 100 percent, still wait a week," Street said. "The good news is it's so early in spring. He'll have time, but the calf will take a while."
Amarista poised for another year in utility role
PEORIA, Ariz. -- With a glut of outfielders in camp, and the Padres likely to carry five on the 25-man roster, there will be little need for Alexi Amarista to appear in the outfield as he did in 2013.
But he will most likely be seen just about everywhere else.
San Diego manager Bud Black said recently that the plan was again for the Padres to use Amarista, 24, in a super-utility role, where he will bounce around the diamond.
"Alexi's game, for me, is his versatility," Black said. "You look at all the components of his game, he's capable at second, capable at short, capable at third, capable of all three outfield spots," Black added. "He's a very dependable player on defense. On offense, he's done some things to win some games for us. He can move around the diamond, he doesn't scare off, he plays with energy. He's a good all-around player."
Last season, Amarista appeared in 23 games at second base, nine at third base, 13 at shortstop and 95 in the outfield -- mostly because of injuries to outfielders Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin.
Amarista was acquired early in 2012 from the Angels, where manager Mike Scioscia gave his former pitching coach, Black, some high praise for Amarista.
"When I talked to Mike, when we made that trade, he said, 'Pepe, this guy is a great fit for the National League.'"