DENVER -- When Chase Headley returned to the Padres' lineup in April of last season, after missing the first 14 games because of a fractured left thumb, he did so using a conventional grip.
"I decided to stay with it and gave it a fair number of at-bats this year," Headley said. "But I just didn't feel like I was able to control the barrel [of the bat] like I had in the past. I thought it was time to make an adjustment."
So recently, Headley -- a switch-hitter -- went back to using the grip that he's used for most of his career; the one that certainly served him well in the second half of 2012 when he put up monster statistics on his way to leading the National League with 115 RBIs.
Headley calls this grip his, "old, funky grip … the one that everyone makes fun of." But, hey, it works. He has had two four-hit games in the past four games, including Monday against the Rockies. Headley has raised his average 28 points this month heading into Tuesday.
This grip has Headley laying his pinkie finger of his top hand over two others. It might look funny, he'll admit, but it seems to be working. That's all that matters.
"I feel like it lets me be a little bit shorter to the ball and it gives you a little bit more leverage," he said. "It's unorthodox but it's something I've done my whole life."
Headley's manager, Bud Black, sees a hitter who appears to have not only found something, but who is healthy again after battling several nagging injuries this spring and earlier this season, including a sore back that required an epidural.
"He's seeing the ball better, his bat speed is better and physically he's better," Black said.