Notes: Headley back in bigs
Meacham moving on from ump flap; Cameron doing better
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rookie third baseman Chase Headley does not figure to play much over the final four games of the regular season, though he certainly feels better prepared to handle the situation this time around should he play.It was June when the Padres recalled the 23-year-old Headley from their Double-A team in San Antonio after Kevin Kouzmanoff suffered a lower back strain. Headley had three hits in 17 at-bats in seven games before returning to San Antonio. "It was great to come up here for a few weeks, get that first experience out of the way and get that first hit out of the way. When I went back down, I felt like I needed to get back to work," Headley said. Actually, Headley -- who would be named the Offensive Player of the Year in the Texas League -- didn't exactly tear the cover off the baseball upon returning to the Missions, as opposing pitchers took a different tact with him. "When I went back down, I started to get pitched a little different. Pitchers weren't quite as aggressive with me," Headley said. "I was seeing more breaking balls, fewer fastballs. For a while, it took me awhile to adjust to that. Hopefully ... that will help me down the road." After a brief funk, the left-handed-hitting Headley -- who is considered San Diego's top Minor League prospect -- recovered fast enough, hitting .333 in July. He finished with a career-best 20 home runs, 78 RBIs and a .330 batting average. Earlier this month, the Missions defeated Springfield in the Texas League championship series after winning the second-half title. "It's the most fun I've had playing baseball since I can remember," Headley said. "We really felt like we would go out there and win every game we played." Should the Padres make the playoffs, Headley might have a shot at making the 25-man roster, because of his left-handed bat. Umpire verdict: First-base coach Bobby Meacham wasn't thrilled to hear about umpire Mike Winters' suspension that he received for making profane comments at Milton Bradley during a game Sunday. Meacham, who was there restraining Bradley, said he wasn't looking for punishment. Meacham just hopes everyone will learn from Winters' mistake. "I'm not too into who's right, who's wrong," Meacham said. "I'm sure [Winters] feels bad. He made a mistake and I hope people don't hold his mistake against him, just like I hope people don't hold any mistake I've made in the past against me." Meacham is ready to put this behind him and focus on the postseason. "He made a mistake in the heat of battle and he has a penalty from it, and now it's time to move on," Meacham said. Bonds' farewell: The Padres have seen quite a few of Barry Bonds' milestones in person this season. "I kind of sit back as a fan, too," Greg Maddux said. "I have spent more innings sitting in the dugout watching him play then actually out there playing against him, and I kind of turned into a fan, too." Bonds tied the all-time home run record in front of them last month, and Wednesday, the Padres watched him play his final game as a Giant. "I've always enjoyed watching him play, watching him hit, watching him carry himself on the field, watching the reaction he gets both here and on the road," Maddux said. "You have to be really good to be booed on the road. "He's always been the best player in the game. He's been the best player I've been privileged to play against. Even when he was in Pittsburgh, he was the best player in the game. There's nothing he can't do on a baseball field." Thatcher's first: Joe Thatcher earned his first Major League win Tuesday when he came in for a shutout eighth inning in the Padres' comeback win against the Giants. Thatcher was happy to get the first one under his belt, but more excited that the Padres won to move ahead one game in the Wild Card race. "At this point in the year, getting a win like that means that much more because the whole point of the season now is to win games," Thatcher said. "For a reliever, wins and losses aren't really that important, but I got my first loss earlier this week, so it feels good to even that record." Cameron improves: Manager Bud Black said Mike Cameron's range of motion was a little better Wednesday. Cameron, who injured his right thumb Sunday, is still not throwing or catching, so it's doubtful he'll play in any of the remaining regular-season games, but Black is optimistic he'll play in the postseason. On deck: Right-hander Jack Cassel left the San Francisco series early to get ready for the series opener against the Brewers at 5:05 p.m. PT on Thursday. Cassel will be opposite righty Yovani Gallardo.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Becky Regan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.