Notes: Headley's far-gone conclusion
Youngster homers 440 feet; ineffective Wolf leaves in first
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Chase Headley isn't one to measure hitting success by length, though even he was a little in awe of his home run Saturday at the Peoria Sports Complex.
Headley -- the Texas League Player of the Year and the Padres Organizational Player of the Year in 2007 -- jumped on a sinker that didn't sink nearly enough from Seattle relief pitcher Brodie Downs in the fifth inning.
The result was a home run that traveled an estimated 440 feet and over -- yes, over -- the batter's eye in center field, a place where few balls have gone. It was the big blow during the Padres' 11-10 victory over the Mariners in Cactus League play.
"I got that one pretty good," Headley said, sheepishly. "That's about as good as I have hit a ball."
One inning later, Headley -- the converted third baseman who is trying to win a job on the roster as an outfielder -- drove a double to center field that one-hopped the wall, some 410 feet away, and drove in two runs.
"Our Minor League people tell us he's got a great approach at the plate. I think the power is going to increase as he gets older," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Those two balls really jumped off his bat. The first one would have been out of any ballpark in the big leagues."
Headley, who appeared as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Friday's 13-9 loss to the Royals, said getting a chance to string together some at-bats in one game -- he had three Saturday -- was important to his success at the plate.
"I felt good today," he said. "It's nice to get a few at-bats stacked. When you're going and getting one or two it's tough to get in any kind of rhythm especially when you're playing every other day."
A rough start: Randy Wolf retired the first two batters he faced Saturday before allowing the next four to reach base on three hits and one walk. That led to two earned runs and an exit after 30 pitches.
Wolf, who will be the No. 4 starter in the rotation, wasn't happy with the results, though he said it's not uncommon for the way he throws at the beginning of Spring Training.
"It's kind of typical of the way my springs are. I wish I was one of those guys who can roll out of bed and have a great delivery," Wolf said. "But it usually takes a little time with me."
Wolf cited trouble locating his fastball away to right-handers, a pitch that hurt him when Seattle's Mike Morse drilled a two-run single into to center, three batters after Greg Norton, a switch-hitter hitting right-handed, drove a ball away to right for a single.
"My goal today was to throw a lot of fastballs," Wolf said. "At this point, it's not about setting up hitters and pitching to their weakness. Right now, you want to locate your fastball and get the bugs out."
Friars notes: Single-game tickets for the 2008 season went on sale Saturday through padres.com, padresbeisbol.com, by phone at 1-877-FRIARTIX and also at the PETCO Park box office. The Padres sold more than 50,000 tickets during the first three hours. The regular-season opener on March 31 sold out. ... Black said that relievers Kevin Cameron (hamstring) and Justin Hampson (shoulder) continue to progress, though there's no timetable for a return to action, but neither is expected to pitch in a Cactus League game for a week. ... Pitcher Mark Prior will throw his fourth bullpen session on Sunday. "It's building up endurance and intensity," Black said. "It's a process. ... There are a lot of steps to go through to get into [throwing] BP. You can't push the intensity of work." ... Black said outfielder Jody Gerut, a non-roster invitee, has "had some nice at-bats" thus far going back to Wednesday's intrasquad game. Going into Saturday's game, and if you count Wednesday's intrasquad game, Gerut had reached base six consecutive times either by hits or walks.
Up next: Defending Cy Young Award champion Jake Peavy will make his first Cactus League start at 12:05 p.m. PT on Sunday against the Mariners in Peoria. Peavy's coming off a season in which he led the National League in victories, ERA and strikeouts. Peavy's been working on a changeup this spring to go with his fastball and slider, his out pitch.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.