Thumb aside, Headley feeling fine

Thumb aside, Headley feeling fine

SAN DIEGO -- It's easy to assume that Chase Headley's hot start at the plate is the result of work and countless at-bats in Spring Training.

But that's hardly the truth for the Padres' hottest hitter, who carried a .440 average in his first six games into Monday's home opener against the Braves.

It wasn't until an exhibition game against Class A Lake Elsinore April 2 when Headley finally got a grip on his swing.

And it was quite by accident.

"It came about because I got jammed [hitting left-handed] to the point where I couldn't hold the bat as deep in my hand as I was used to," Headley said. "I actually bruised my thumb pretty good. But it got me holding the bat in my fingertips a little more, which is what everyone tells you to do.

"So it came from necessity."

Headley has four multihit games thus far and has used the entire field. Better still, he's only struck out twice and is the only Padres player to hit safely in all six games.

A year ago, Headley got off to a 4-for-24 (.167) start after six games with nine strikeouts. He's been working hard to shorten his swing -- from both sides of the plate -- to help cut down on his strikeouts.

"It's a good start, but in six games, you can't judge much of anything. I think I've made some adjustments mechanically that have put me in a better position to hit in all counts, where I'm not missing as many pitches early in the count or swinging," Headley said.

"I think it's going to make a big difference."