SAN DIEGO -- When Chase Headley was hit by a Jordan Zimmermann pitch in the seventh inning Saturday, he calmly took off his shin guard and jogged toward first base. It was a breaking pitch that got away from Zimmermann, didn't really sting much and was something that has become pretty common.
The Padres have been hit by 21 pitches this season, the second most in the majors (Pittsburgh, 26). Headley leads the team after being plunked five times. That ties a career high and passes his total for all of 2012, in 578 fewer plate appearances.
They've been hit at a rapid pace lately, 14 times over the past 17 games, the most in the big leagues over that span.
"I think the plan to try and get me out is maybe a little different this year than it was last year," said Headley, the National League leader in RBIs last season.
"They're trying to maybe get the ball in, or if they're missing they'd rather miss inside rather that miss over the plate. I think that may have a little bit to do with it."
Before Headley took the team lead last night, he was tied at four with Carlos Quentin -- who's always been near the top of the league in his career -- and Kyle Blanks. All three of those players are in the top 10 in the Majors in hit by pitches.
Blanks has done this with only 69 plate appearances. He said he's been OK with the times he's been hit, as it's usually come when he's behind in the count.
"As long as it's not in the head, I don't care," Blanks said. "Free base."
Headley, on the other hand, has had some ones that he said have stung. He's been hit on the outside of his knee and on the foot.
"I've been lucky; nothing too bad," Headley said. "Couple minutes of pain and after that, you're good to go."
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.