Headley hopes to impress Padres from left field, third base

Get a good look at Chase Headley, fans, because he won’t be a Portland Beaver for very long. So says Kevin Towers, general manager of the San Diego Padres, and everybody under him. The Padres sent Headley to Triple-A to play every day in left field. He was moved there because the Padres like Kevin Kouzmanoff at third base. “They’re trying to get both Kouzmanoff and Headley’s bats in the lineup at the same time,” Portland manager Randy Ready says. Headley, 23 and from Fountain, Colo., and the University of Tennessee, says he was disappointed not to make the Padres out of spring training. And, yes, he watches to see how the Padre left fielders do every day; he knows that Scott Hairston went 3 for 3 in a win the other day. “It’s easy to get caught up in that. Then you’re not doing what you need to do,” says Headley, a patiently aggressive switch-hitter who batted .330 with 38 doubles, 20 homers and 78 RBIs last year at Class AA San Antonio. In Portland, Headley also will play some third base, a more premium position at which to make the big bucks in the big leagues. “No question, that was one thing I stressed when they asked me if I’d be willing to play left field,” Headley says. “I would, but it doesn’t mean I’m not still a third baseman. Valuewise, it’s still a better place for me.” As far as playing in left field, “I’ve got to make sure I take good routes, because I’m not very fast. Get a good read and break on the ball. The more I’m out there, the better I’ll get.” At the plate, Headley wants to work on hitting off-speed pitches. “Obviously, I won’t sit and look for a breaking ball, but being able to hit it is important,” he says. • The Beavers have more organization players in the system, including 10 players who helped San Antonio win the Texas League last year. The core guys here are Headley, second baseman Matt Antonelli, catcher Nick Hundley, outfielder Will Venable and pitchers Josh Geer, Wade LeBlanc and Cesar Ramos. “We should have a really good team,” Headley says. “We’re young in spots, especially on the mound, but we’re talented, too. “It’s tough to piece together a Triple-A team. When you have guys come up together who know how to win together, it makes a big difference.” • Antonelli, who turns 23 today, is a projected major leaguer. He’s also switched positions, having started at third. “He needs a little polish,” says Ready, a second baseman during his big league career. “He’s got great aptitude, he’s a quick study. And he has the desire to play at the next level. He needs some physical work on lateral movement and range, his pivot at second base and understanding situations.” Antonelli has been a leadoff hitter since his prep days at Peabody, Mass., and through his three years at Wake Forest. It fits, because he likes to take pitches and get on base, but he also hit 21 total homers last year for Class A Lake Elsinore (Calif.) and San Antonio. “I try not to be too selective at times, and be more aggressive,” he says. • The Bevos endured one rainout and another game delayed by the wet stuff in their opening series against Fresno. Owner Merritt Paulson and adviser Jack Cain say that while they would like all Pacific Coast League North Division teams to open on the road, the league is set on rotating the first series between teams from the North and South. This was the second time Portland has opened at PGE Park in the past eight seasons. • Ready says San Diego pitchers Mark Prior and Clay Hensley could get Triple-A tuneup starts as they try to get healthy. Also, Cesar Carrillo, who started at Portland last season before elbow surgery, should pitch in Portland this summer. Uncertain is when Tim Stauffer, who’s on the 60-day disabled list (elbow), can return. • Hundley, who was born in Corvallis and lived in Forest Grove, homered in his first Triple-A at-bat, while his grandmother, Evelyn Van Doren, watched from a PGE Park suite celebrating her 85th birthday. Hundley is the fourth Oregon-born player to play in this era with the Bevos, joining Brady Clark (2007), Joe Gerber (2004-05) and Ben Petrick (2004). This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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