The San Diego Padres thought they were finally building an offense last season, when they ranked fifth in the National League in runs after the All-Star break.
But two weeks before Opening Day, the middle of their batting order has all but fallen apart:
* The No. 3 hitter, third baseman Chase Headley, learned Monday that he will miss the first month of the season with a small fracture in his left thumb.
* The No. 4 hitter, right fielder Carlos Quentin, has been dealing with soreness in his surgically repaired right knee.
* And the No. 5 hitter, catcher Yasmani Grandal, will miss the first 50 games after testing positive for elevated testosterone levels in November.
Quentin is expected to play Opening Day. John Baker and Nick Hundley will share the catching dues during Grandal's absence.
Third base, though, might be trickier.
Headley, who hit a career-high 31 homers last season and led the National League with 115 RBIs, will be nearly impossible to replace.
The most logical c...