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Headley earns NL Player of the Month honors

Special to
The View Full Game Coverage subject of numerous trade rumors leading up to the July 31 Trade Deadline, Padres third baseman Chase Headley stayed put.

Then on Tuesday, he went out and earned National League Player of the Month honors for August, presented by Budweiser.

The 28-year-old became the second player in franchise history to lead the Majors in both home runs and RBIs for a month, joining Ken Caminiti, who accomplished the feat in August 1996. Headley tied for the MLB lead with 10 roundtrippers, while his 31 RBIs put him in first place by himself.

"I have had months where I've had the same amount of hits, but I don't think that in the big leagues I've put together a month like that," Headley said.

Headley is the first Padres player to win the award since Tony Gwynn in May 1997. On his way there, Headley took home the NL Player of the Week Award for Aug. 6-12, after smacking three homers, driving in 11 and racking up 18 total bases.

The Padres' second-round pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft batted .306 in 28 August games while ranking sixth in the NL with 20 runs scored, and he finished eighth with a .611 slugging percentage and 10th with 33 hits.

Headley also came through in the biggest situations, leading the league with nine go-ahead RBIs and tying for the top spot with five game-winning RBIs. On Aug. 21 against the Pirates, his second career walk-off homer gave the Padres a 10-inning victory.

"Chase gets all the credit," said Padres hitting coach Phil Plantier, who has worked close with Headley, not just this season but during the winter when Plantier flew to Tennessee to work with Headley. "He scraps every single day. He played every single day. He just finds a way to compete."

Since the All-Star break, Headley's 41 RBIs are the second most in the Majors, and his 14 homers are tied for second. The switch-hitter already has doubled his previous career high with 24 homers for the season, to go along with a .283 average, an .847 OPS and 92 RBIs.

"To Chase's credit, his mindset has shifted to where he's now the aggressor," Padres manager Bud Black said recently. "You can say that early in his career, the pitcher took it to him. Now he is taking it to the pitcher."

Andrew Simon is a contributor to

San Diego Padres, Chase Headley