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Headley accepts invitation if USA advances

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- It was more than a month ago when the Major League Baseball Players Association first reached out to Padres third baseman Chase Headley to see if he'd be interested in playing for Team USA during the World Baseball Classic, should it need a third baseman.

So when Headley was contacted by text message Thursday with the same question, his answer was the same as it was in February -- a resounding yes.

"This has always been a dream of mine, to play for Team USA," Headley said.

"I think it's a feather in his cap," said Padres manager Bud Black.


With Mets third baseman David Wright sitting out with a sore back, Team USA lost in Miami on Thursday to the Dominican Republic with the D-backs' Willie Bloomquist playing third base.

Team USA will face Puerto Rico at 4 p.m. PT Friday in a game that can be watched live on MLB Network and ESPN Deportes. If Team USA wins that game, it will earn a spot in the semifinals in San Francisco.

If that happens, Headley will in all likelihood be the starting third baseman, if Wright is unable to return.

"Obviously, you hate to see anyone go down this time of year," Headley said.

Headley is scheduled to hit third in a split-squad game against the Dodgers on Friday at the Peoria Sports Complex. He won't play the whole game, as regulars are usually replaced by Minor League players. He'll retreat to the Padres' clubhouse to watch Team USA, rooting for a victory.

"If they get it done, I'm sure we'll talk more about it then," Headley said.

Headley is coming off a momentous season during which he led the National League in RBIs (115) and won NL Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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