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Headley adjusting to decreased playing time

Third baseman has fallen to No. 3 on Padres' depth chart; Myers rehabbing in left field; Yates expected back Friday
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres traded for Chase Headley in December, fully expecting him to serve as their regular third baseman. According to plan, Headley started on Opening Day. He hasn't done much of it since.

Headley found himself mired in a 1-for-26 slump to start the year before Tuesday's game-tying pinch-hit double against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. He's No. 3 on the Padres' depth chart, behind Christian Villanueva and Cory Spangenberg.

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SAN DIEGO -- The Padres traded for Chase Headley in December, fully expecting him to serve as their regular third baseman. According to plan, Headley started on Opening Day. He hasn't done much of it since.

Headley found himself mired in a 1-for-26 slump to start the year before Tuesday's game-tying pinch-hit double against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. He's No. 3 on the Padres' depth chart, behind Christian Villanueva and Cory Spangenberg.

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Even without Headley's slow start, Villanueva has made it practically impossible for the Padres to give Headley playing time. Villanueva's off to a torrid start to his rookie campaign, batting .327 with a National League-leading .776 slugging percentage entering play Wednesday.

"There's enough to worry about in this game, and really, what I'm trying to do is control what I can control," Headley said. "I understand why things are the way they are, and it's for a number of reasons. First and foremost, Villa is playing great. Second of all, where the organization is, it makes some sense to see those guys play."

Headley is in the final year of his contract, and he almost certainly won't factor into the club's plans after this year. He was brought on board largely because the Padres' taking on his salary allowed them to acquire right-hander Bryan Mitchell as well.

Even Headley, whose .352 on-base percentage last season would've led the '17 Padres, probably couldn't have envisioned a start like this. His struggles have coupled with a complete absence of a path to playing time.

"Going out there and worrying about getting three hits so I can be in there the next day is just counterproductive," Headley said. "I just don't worry the way I used to worry. Who knows how many years, how many games I have left to play. But I'm going to enjoy it and give what I have to give, and know that if I do what I need to do to get ready, then I can live with the results.

"I certainly think I can still play. I think I can thrive as an everyday player, and I think I can thrive as a pinch-hitter, too. But worrying about it gets you nowhere."

Video: SF@SD: Headley grabs Panik's grounder, starts DP

Even from the bench, Headley feels there's a mindset he can impart. That was particularly evident in the at-bat he pieced together against Jansen. On a night the Padres tied their franchise strikeout record, Headley laid off three straight tantalizing cutters just outside the zone. After working the count full, he got a hittable pitch at the top of the zone, and he promptly tied the game.

Padres manager Andy Green touted the impact Headley can still have on a young -- and perhaps swing-happy -- lineup.

"He does lay off pitches very, very well," Green said. "He's got plate discipline, it's always been a really good attribute for him -- and now for us."

Myers rehabs in LF
Wil Myers made his second consecutive rehab start for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore on Wednesday night. After serving as designated hitter on Tuesday, Myers started in left field Wednesday -- despite the fact that he played right field exclusively before he hit the disabled list with nerve irritation in his right arm.

Upon his return, Myers will shift between right and left field, depending upon who the Padres use as their other corner outfielder. (Hunter Renfroe would play right, while Jose Pirela would play left.) Green noted that the decision had nothing to do with the extra strain placed on the arm of a right fielder.

"We're conscious of the throwing program we're creating for him … to put him in an ideal health position for the rest of the season," Green said. "But we're not openly concerned that this is going to sneak back up."

Yates' return imminent?
Righty reliever Kirby Yates pitched a simulated inning on Wednesday afternoon and felt no effects of the right-ankle tendinitis that landed him on the disabled list.

Assuming no further setbacks, Yates is expected to be activated Friday when the Padres open a three-game series in Arizona.

Should Myers and Yates both be activated, it's possible two relievers will be optioned to clear space. The Padres have two off-days in the next eight and could downsize to a seven-man 'pen.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Chase Headley