Chase Headley’s defensive position may have changed, but his recent offensive surge has continued.
After going 3-for-4 with a walk Thursday night in the Yankees’ 6-5, 11-inning victory over the Rays, Headley — who moved from third base to first base after the Yankees traded for Todd Frazier on July 19 — — was hitting .388 with a .423 on-base percentage and .490 slugging percentage since the All-Star break. In six starts at first since the trade, he has a .478/.538/.609 slash line.
“I’m seeing the ball well and taking good swings,” Headley said before Thursday night’s game. “As a hitter, you have your ups and downs, but I just feel like mechanically, I’m in a good spot. For the most part, I’m controlling at-bats and getting results.”
For the season, Headley was hitting .271 with an on-base percentage of .352. He has made 79 starts at third base this season but has not appeared there since the Yankees acquired Frazier from the White Sox.
Headley, 33, who played almost exclusively at third base since making his big-league debut in 2007, is satisfied with his progress at first.
“I’m certainly trying to continue to work and learn and get more comfortable over there, but I feel like I’ve done a decent job from really never playing the position to going over there and playing pretty regularly,” he said.
Headley made six starts at first for the Yankees in 2014 and had four other appearances there in his career. He won a Gold Glove at third base in 2012.
“I’ve caught ground balls my whole life, so you try not to overanalyze and overthink things,” he said. “By the same token, there are some plays that were natural, instinct plays at third base that at first base, I have to think about a little more . . . Here and there, I’ll throw a question in with [first baseman Garrett Cooper], technique-wise.”
Headley said some of those plays include positioning as a cutoff man and footwork on potential double-play balls. He has tried to ensure that his work learning a new position does not detract from his offense.
“That’s what you always try to do as any type of position player: separate the two,” he said. “There are going to be times when one side isn’t going as well as the other and you don’t want that to affect the other side. So far, so good with that, and hopefully I can continue.”