Minor League Report: Chase Headley

Minor League Report: Chase Headley

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Chase Headley continues to force the Padres' hand this spring by the way that he's swinging the bat, which isn't altogether a surprise to those in the organization who believe his bat is already Major League ready.

But is his glove?

After hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth inning against the Mariners on Thursday, Headley has four home runs this spring, 14 RBIs and is hitting .389. Headley's 14 hits trail only Callix Crabbe (18) for the team lead.

Better still, Headley has held up well in left field, as he's made the full-time conversion from third base to the outfield.

But have the Padres seen enough defensively from him?

"He's played well. The only thing is the change in positions and doing it at the big league level is tough," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Doing it in Spring Training is a great indicator of things to come. He hasn't done anything to indicate that he's not capable."

The Padres have been mum on whether Headley will open the season on the 25-man Opening Day roster or might be better served starting the season with Triple-A Portland to get more playing time in the outfield, which might be a more realistic possibility at this point.

The health of center fielder Jim Edmonds will go a long ways in determining how the Padres outfield sets up for the start of the regular season. Edmonds has been sidelined with a right calf sprain over the last two weeks and his status for Opening Day on March 31 appears doubtful.

Bass still here: Right-handed pitcher Adam Bass, a non-roster invitee, is still here in camp, still competing for a job in the bullpen.

Bass, who split last season between the Diamondbacks' organization and pitching in Japan, has allowed just two runs in eight innings over seven appearances this spring. Better still, Bass has walked one batter and that was on March 3 against Milwaukee.

With left-handed Justin Hampson still nursing a sore shoulder and Kevin Cameron (fractured thumb on his non-throwing hand) getting limited appearances, Bass has continued to get chances to throw and has performed well.

Bush on the mend: Pitcher Matt Bush, the first overall pick of the 2004 Draft, is back throwing again, less than seven months after having Tommy John ligament replacement surgery to repair his right elbow.

Bush has been throwing off flat ground for the last three weeks, though don't expect him to get any time in a professional game anytime soon. He'll likely face live hitters during instructional league.

Spring Training
News and features:
• Prior on his latest throwing session  400K
• GM Towers on breaking camp  400K
• Peavy discusses final spring start  400K
• Black on Opening Day roster  400K
• Greene on new double-play partner  400K
• Padres highlights, March 24  400K
Spring Training info:
MLB.com coverage  |  Schedule  |  Ballpark  |  Tickets

Bush made the conversion from shortstop to pitcher in July, but pitched 7 2/3 innings before injuring his elbow. The reports on his pitching, especially his velocity, were very good before the injury.

They're No. 1: Matt Antonelli, the Padres' first-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, was one of the 17 players who were moved to the team's Minor League camp earlier in the week. Chances are Antonelli will open the season at Portland.

Antonelli hit .150 this spring in Cactus League games with one home run in 20 at-bats. He was part of the contingent of players that the Padres took to Beijing a week ago.

Antonelli hasn't played above the Double-A level, and has a .406 on-base percentage in the Minor Leagues and fits the organizational profile for patience well. He showed in 2007 that he's capable of hitting for power (21 combined home runs).

Class of '07: Shortstop Drew Cumberland, a supplemental-round pick last June, could open the season at Class A Fort Wayne, which would likely make him on of the youngest players in the Midwest League in 2008.

Cumberland, the 46th overall pick out of Pace High School in Pace, Fla., hit .310 last summer with the Padres' entry-level team in the Arizona League and then .333 in a short stint at Eugene.

Cumberland recovered nicely after dislocating the ring finger on his right hand after losing a pop-up in the sun.

What they're saying: "We're going to keep running him out there. He's a guy our scouts and a couple of our front office people identified. He's a guy who, if he continues to pitch, can force his way [and make us] make some decisions." -- Black speaking about Bass

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