Austin Hedges rakes, takes in Padres spring debut


Austin Hedges continues to tinker with his approach at the plate.

He worked over the winter to limit his head movement and develop a two-handed follow-through. And just Saturday he made another adjustment in batting practice, staying back on pitches rather than attacking.

“It kind of allowed me to slow things down and see the ball better,” Hedges said.

In his first spring at-bat in the second inning of Sunday’s 2-1 loss the Los Angeles Angels, Hedges sent a 2-2 pitch from Garrett Richards the opposite way over the right field wall. Then, in his second-and-final time up, he drew a four-pitch walk.

It was the latter that might have been more impressive for the catcher who hit 18 home runs last season but also chased pitches outside the strike zone at a rate of 37.7 percent and struck out in almost 30 percent of his plate appearances.

“I thought the walk was probably just as exciting as the home run,” manager Andy Green said. “He’s worked hard. There’s a simplicity to it, less head movement, easier to see the baseball. Hopefully that carries on.”