Chase Headley confident that his 2012 was not a fluke

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Padres third baseman Chase Headley hit .286/.376/.498 with 31 home runs, 31 doubles and 115 RBI in 699 plate appearances last season, blowing away all of his previous career-bests. And he’s pretty certain he can keep that pace going forward.

Via Corey Brock, beat writer for MLB.com:

“I expect a lot out of myself. And I do think that the norm of my career will be much closer to last season than the years before that,” Headley said. “I feel like I’m closer to being that type of player … having that success I had last year, gives me a lot of confidence going forward. … I care about what I want to do. I want to be the best I can be.”

The 28-year-old batted just .289/.374/.399 with four homers and 44 RBI in 439 plate appearances for the Padres in 2011, but he was dealing with shoulder, calf and pinkie injuries. Good health and newfound power helped him reach a new level of stardom last summer, and he’s ready to build on that here in 2013.

The fences are being moved a bit closer at San Diego’s Petco Park, which should help matters.

Watch: Shohei Ohtani strikes out his first spring training batter

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Sure, spring training games don’t count toward anything “real,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Angels’ star pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani mowing down his first big league competitors.

On Saturday, Ohtani took the mound against the Brewers for his first official outing in an Angels uniform. After allowing a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar, the 23-year-old righty settled down and issued a three-pitch strikeout to Nate Orf, his first of the spring.

It wasn’t the cleanest inning for the right-hander: the Brewers plated their first run on a walk, wild pitch and subsequent throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Ohtani didn’t let things unravel further, however, and induced a pop-up for the second out before catching Brett Phillips looking on a called strike three to end the inning.

While the two-way phenom only lasted another two batters (a Keon Broxton dinger finished him off in the second), he’s already started to look like a formidable presence on the mound. Time will tell whether he can deliver at the plate as well — rumor has it he could feature in the Angels’ lineup as soon as Monday.