Headley's strained calf continues to improve

Headley's strained calf continues to improve

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Third baseman Chase Headley's strained right calf continues to improve and is already to the point where it's almost like the injury never occurred.

"That was one of the things we talked about," Headley said of his discussions with the training staff. "… They trust me to say if it's feeling out of the ordinary."

To this point, it hasn't, which is why Headley -- who suffered the strain during an infield drill on Feb. 22 -- has advanced to the point of taking ground balls as well as hitting on the field in batting practice.

On Friday, Headley's plans were to go through another full day of drills on the practice field, while also doing some light running.

This is all part of the progression that is aimed at getting Headley back on the field by mid-month or just a little later.

Headley doesn't have a firm feel for his timeline to appear in a Cactus League game, though he knows exactly what he needs to feel ready for Opening Day on March 30 against the Dodgers.

"Probably 15-20 [plate appearances] from each side," said Headley, a switch-hitter. "And getting those in a condensed sense, not like over two weeks."

The Padres have their only off day of the spring on March 19 before playing seven consecutive games. The team then takes a day off to travel to San Diego before playing two more exhibition games against the Indians on March 28-29 before starting the season the following day.

To date, the Padres have used several players at third base during Cactus League play, including Ryan Jackson, Alexi Amarista and Jace Peterson. Jackson, trying to win a spot on the 25-man roster for the start of the season, has impressed the staff with his defense at third base and shortstop.

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.