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02/28/11 10:38 PM EST

Headley seeing fruits of his offseason labors

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As far as samples go, Chase Headley's two hits in Sunday's 13-12 loss to the Mariners -- the first game of the spring, no less -- do not qualify as much.

And Headley, a switch-hitter, didn't pretend as much on Monday, when he talked about the improvements he is trying to make as a right-handed hitter after he struggled last season when facing left-handed pitchers.

But Headley's singles in his first two at-bats, against Mariners left-hander Luke French, provided some validations that his work to get better from the right side might be taking hold.

"It was good to get positive reinforcement right away," Headley said. "This early on, your timing isn't locked in. So it felt good to get a couple of hits from that side of the plate ... since it's something I've worked hard on during the offseason and here."

Headley hit .217 in 2010 as a right-handed hitter. That was the fifth-lowest average against left-handed pitching among National League players who finished with at least 180 at-bats.

Headley has been using a shorter stride from the right side, which has helped with the timing of his swing. Both of his hits on Sunday were singles to left field, the first coming on a full-count changeup, the second on a fastball.

Padres waiting on health of Zaun, Johnson

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres have seven catchers in camp, though only five of them are healthy enough to play in Cactus League games.

The Padres are waiting on Rob Johnson and Gregg Zaun to get healthy enough for game duty, and to engage in what is expected to be a month-long battle for the backup job behind Nick Hundley.

Zaun, in camp as a non-roster invitee, underwent surgery last June to repair his right shoulder. He's at the point where hitting is not an issue, but he's been limited to throwing on the back fields.

Johnson, whom the Padres acquired in a December trade, has been slowed in recent days with a tweaked side.

Manager Bud Black said that Zaun could possibly appear in a game next week. Johnson might appear sooner, possibly within the next five days.

The Padres will take a look at two catchers in camp who have Major League service time -- Guillermo Quiroz and Jason Phillips. Two other catchers in camp -- Jason Hagerty and Luis Martinez, both highly regarded players -- will get sporadic at-bats during games.

Left-hander LeBlanc has a lot to prove in camp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A year ago, left-hander Wade LeBlanc won eight games following an April promotion after Chris Young was lost with an injury.

This spring, none of that matters to LeBlanc, who lost his spot in the rotation during the final month of the season.

LeBlanc knows that to win a spot in the rotation, he can't count on anything he's done in the past.

"To me, last year means nothing currently," LeBlanc said. "I have to continue to show them I can do it."

In his first outing of the spring, LeBlanc allowed two runs in two innings over a 40-pitch stint against the Mariners. He allowed both runs in the first inning before throwing a 1-2-3 second inning that included two strikeouts.

The Padres went on to tie the Mariners, 6-6. The game was called after nine innings.

"It was about as good as could be expected," said LeBlanc, who allowed three hits and finished with four strikeouts. "That first outing, there's always going to be nerves."

LeBlanc is in competition with right-hander Dustin Moseley for the fifth spot in the rotation. Another left-hander, Cory Luebke, is also a candidate, though he could well begin the season with Triple-A Tucson.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.