SAN FRANCISCO -- Playing through a knee injury all season, without complaining or making excuses, is another reason Chase Headley is one of the leaders of the San Diego Padres, manager Bud Black said Sunday.
"His mentality is to play every day through minor injuries and other discomforts," Black said. "He goes to the post and his durability is huge. He sets a great example every day, not just with his performance but how he goes about the game."
Headley said the knee began giving him some trouble during Spring Training.
"There was no specific incident; that's just when I first noticed it," the 29-year-old third baseman said Sunday. "There was no MRI at the time, so it's hard to say what happened. There was never a point where I couldn't play."
Headley will have arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
"There's always a chance they may have to stitch it up, which would mean a longer recovery time," Headley said. "It's 80 percent that they will just trim out a piece of the meniscus and clean it up."
Headley thinks he'll be ready to start rehabbing a month after surgery and expects to be 100 percent when Spring Training opens in February.
He wasn't reckless about playing with the injury. He got together with the medical staff and team athletic trainers to understand his risk.
"It was really up to me," Headley said. "They said there was no risk to damage it long term or making it worse. It's just something you deal with as a guy who plays every day. Did it have some effect? Probably. There were a lot of things that contributed to the season I had."
Headley had a monster year in 2012, finishing fifth in the MVP voting and winning a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award. His offensive numbers slipped this season, but he never used his knee as an excuse.
"Chase is mentally strong," Black said. "He's motivated to be an everyday player. It's great to have a guy with Chase's experience on the team."
Headley may not have had a great year, but his numbers were still representative of his career through 2011, and Padres fans know what to expect when he's healthy.
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com.