San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley's injured thumb is showing progress, and following the positive prognosis the team is optimistic he can begin a minor league rehab assignment as early as this weekend, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com.
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Headley has been out since March 17 with a fractured left thumb. He sustained the injury while sliding into second base during a spring training contest. Initially, the Padres expected Headley to be sidelined between four and six weeks.
But Headley could find himself on the lesser end of that projected time frame if he's able to join one of San Diego's minor league affiliates this weekend. He took batting practice with the team yesterday prior to their game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and manager Bud Black told reporters that the third baseman looked "good."
In Headley's estimates, he believes he could require four to seven rehab games before he's able to rejoin the big league club and make his season debut. He said it will depend on how he feels, but regardless he doesn't think a return is far off.
Headley broke out for the Padres last season, hitting .286/.376/.498 with 31 doubles and 31 home runs over 699 plate appearances.