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Headley looks to improve at new spot in lineup

Headley looks to improve at new spot in lineup

Headley looks to improve at new spot in lineup

ST. LOUIS -- Chase Headley found himself in unfamiliar territory Friday in St. Louis, as the Padres' third baseman was slotted at the second spot in the lineup for the first time since June 2011.

In 23 career games batting second prior to Friday, he was 15-for-88 with six doubles, five RBIs and a homer. Headley's current .229 average has him on pace for his worst season at the plate since he batted .222 in his rookie year.

"I don't really worry about where I hit. I'm going to try to do the same things that I always do," Headley said. "If I get going, is that what made me get going? I don't know. It just is what it is. And I'll hit when they tell me to hit."

Headley said he identified a few "very, very minute" mechanical things with his swing to keep an eye on going forward, but he had hopes of finding something more significant.

"I wish I could look and see something bigger, because then I could be like, 'Hey, there it is. Let's fix this and get going,'" Headley said. "You just have to battle through the tough times, and hopefully the numbers will take care of themselves."

Padres manager Bud Black said Headley's patience at the plate, which could help give leadoff hitter Everth Cabrera more opportunities to build on his National League-best 34 stolen bases, was also a factor in the decision. Black added that he might move Headley back in the lineup against a left-handed pitcher to take advantage of Chris Denorfia's .283 average and .348 on-base percentage against lefties.

Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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