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Headley hopes September carries into '14 after surgery

Third baseman expects normal offseason routine after strong final month to tough '13

SAN DIEGO -- Chase Headley isn't ready to declare the 2013 campaign a lost season, though he's had no trouble finding another word for it.

"It was, at times, a really frustrating season," said Headley, the Padres' third baseman.

Headley flew home to Tennessee on Thursday, two days removed from having surgery on his left knee. He'll be on crutches for a few weeks, but will be able to start his offseason workout routine on time, or possibly one week late, in about six weeks.

He's already anxious -- maybe excited is a better word -- for the 2014 season, especially with the way his season ended, with a .305/.424/.573 slash line, five home runs and 14 RBIs over 82 at-bats in September.

"I'm just glad I was able to finish the way I did," Headley said. "I want to get this [knee] healthy, and get back to work and prepare for a better season. It definitely felt good to finish the way I did. I started to feel like myself again.

"That's a good way to go into the offseason … taking something from a frustrating season."

Headley is hoping the surgery he underwent earlier this week is the final chapter to that frustrating year. He first noticed it in Spring Training, though he wasn't sure at the time if it was normal soreness that goes with increased activity -- on the hard Arizona ground, no less -- after a winter off.

"We hoped that it would back off … and there were days where it felt sore and days where it felt pretty normal," he said. "Toward the end of the year, it was more sore than it was at the beginning."

Headley had surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear in his left knee two days after the season. The surgery was performed by Drs. Heinz Hoenecke, Daniel Keefe and Jan Fronek at the Scripps Clinic.

"Everything went good with it, just as they expected," Headley said. "They said everything was pretty standard."

Just don't bother trying to connect Headley's struggles the first five months of the season to his knee issue, because that isn't a consideration or explanation in the least to Headley.

"It never got to the part where I thought I couldn't play because if it," Headley said. "Maybe when I had my back flare up [in late August, early September], there was some knee soreness which might have led me to moving a little different than I was before.

"But it wasn't a huge issue. I probably didn't run or put as much stress on it, but otherwise, it was mostly business as usual."

This offseason could prove interesting in areas other than getting his knee healthy, as Headley figures to talk to the Padres to see where each side stands on a possible contract extension. He will be eligible for free agency after next season, one that will see him make more than the $8.575 million he made in 2013.

"Obviously, my first choice is to stay in San Diego, long term," Headley said in September. "If the organization is interested in talking long term … and I'm here for another year anyway. I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth, but it would be a prudent discussion in the offseason to see where each side stands."

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter.

San Diego Padres, Chase Headley