ST. LOUIS - Like any new kid on the block, San Diego first baseman Yonder Alonso tried hard to fit in.
Maybe a little too hard.
On April 24, after an 0-for-3 performance against Washington, the highly-touted Alonso was hitting .196 in his first season for the Padres.
"I was probably trying to do too much up there," Alonso said. "I was having good at bats, but things weren't falling for me."
Rather than panic, Alonso simply stayed the course. The former University of Miami standout stuck with his original game plan and did not change a thing.
That attitude has paid big dividends.
Alonso is currently one of the hottest players in the National League. He is 32-for-87 (.368) since the dismal start and has hit safely in 20 of his last 23 games. He leads all NL rookies in batting average (.301), hits (43), and doubles (14).
A native of Havana, Cuba, Alonso has raised his average .105 points in the last 28 days.
"He was trying to impress too early," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "In the last few weeks, he's become the hitter we all knew he could be."
The 25-year-old says he knew things would eventually fall into place after the rough start.
"You're going to have days like that, you're going to have weeks like that," Alonso said. "You can't over-think or go crazy over it. You have to keep grinding and come to the park every day thinking things are going to change."
Alonso has developed into a doubles hitter with five two-double games already this season. He is tied for second with David Wright of the Mets for most doubles behind Joey Votto (17).
"My game plan is to keep studying and just try and learn from the past and the mistakes I've made," Alinso said. "Watch and pick up things."
Alonso was acquired from the Reds along Edinson Volquez and two others players in exchange for Mat Latos on Dec. 17.
Now, after overcoming a few early-season obstacles, Alonso feels good about his future in San Diego.
"I'm fitting in with the guys and I've got a normal routine going," Alonso said.
Headley sits with lower back issue
ST. LOUIS -- San Diego third baseman Chase Headley did not start Tuesday's game at St. Louis due to what manager Bud Black called "a lower back issue."
Headley had started 42 of the Padres' first 43 games. The switch-hitter is batting .245 with five homers and 20 RBIs.
Black said Headley might be available to pinch-hit.
"We want to let this calm down a little," Black said.
Headley was 1-for-4 with a double in Monday's 4-3 loss at St. Louis.
Suppan to start against former team
ST. LOUIS -- Right-hander Jeff Suppan still holds a spot in his heart for St. Louis.
Suppan, who will start Wednesday in the finale of the three-game series, spent parts of four seasons with the Cardinals. He helped them to the 2006 World Series championship with a 12-7 regular season record and a 1-1 mark in postseason play. Suppan was named MVP of the NLCS, allowing one earned run in 15 innings against the Mets.
The St. Louis fans always appreciated Suppan's strong work ethic.
"I had a good experience here," Suppan said. "To win a World Series was incredible. I never thought I'd be in that situation."
Suppan also won 16 games in 2004 and 2005 with the Cardinals.
"It's always fun to come back," he said.
Suppan played with Milwaukee in 2007 but will never forget his first game back in St. Louis. He was given his World Series ring in a ceremony at home plate. St. Louis coaches and players came out and joined him as he was awarded his ring. The crowd gave him a lengthy standing ovation.
"It was very special," Suppan said. "These fans love baseball and they appreciate hard work and dedication."
Suppan, 37, signed with San Diego as a Minor League free agent on Feb. 8. He is 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in four starts as a visitor at Busch Stadium. His teams have won all four of those games.
The Oklahoma City native carries a 2-2 mark with a 3.00 ERA into his fifth start of the season.
Street plays catch with no discomfort
ST. LOUIS -- Closer Huston Street played catch in the outfield prior to Tuesday's game and reported no discomfort.
Street was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 5 with a strained right lat muscle.
Manager Bud Black says Street is likely to throw a long-toss session sometime soon. A bullpen session could follow. The results of the bullpen work will determine the next move.
"He feels good," Black said. "He went free and easy, no pain."
Street, who was 4-for-4 in save opportunities before the injury, is expected to make at least two Minor League rehab appearances before resuming his closer duties.
Outfielder Mark Kotsay received a cortisone injection on Tuesday to help ease the pain in his lower back. He remains back in San Diego.
Major League baseball has announced a scoring change from May. 17. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Either has been credited with a double off Volquez in the fifth inning of an 8-1 loss.
Outfielder Cameron Maybin was originally given an error on the ball that tipped off his glove. Volquez was charged with an earned run on the play.
Infielder Cody Decker has been promoted to the Padres' Triple-A club in Tucson.
Decker hit .286 with 14 home runs and 29 RBI in 42 games at Double-A San Antonio. He was named Texas League Player of the Week twice.
Steve Overbey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.