SAN DIEGO -- It's easy to assume that Chase Headley's hot start at the plate is the result of work and countless at-bats in Spring Training.
But that's hardly the truth for the Padres' hottest hitter, who carried a .440 average in his first six games into Monday's home opener against the Braves.
It wasn't until an exhibition game against Class A Lake Elsinore April 2 when Headley finally got a grip on his swing.
And it was quite by accident.
"It came about because I got jammed [hitting left-handed] to the point where I couldn't hold the bat as deep in my hand as I was used to," Headley said. "I actually bruised my thumb pretty good. But it got me holding the bat in my fingertips a little more, which is what everyone tells you to do.
"So it came from necessity."
Headley has four multihit games thus far and has used the entire field. Better still, he's only struck out twice and is the only Padres player to hit safely in all six games.
A year ago, Headley got off to a 4-for-24 (.167) start after six games with nine strikeouts. He's been working hard to shorten his swing -- from both sides of the plate -- to help cut down on his strikeouts.
"It's a good start, but in six games, you can't judge much of anything. I think I've made some adjustments mechanically that have put me in a better position to hit in all counts, where I'm not missing as many pitches early in the count or swinging," Headley said.
"I think it's going to make a big difference."
Tight shoulder forces Young to DL
SAN DIEGO -- As much as he wanted to pitch in the home opener on Monday at PETCO Park, Chris Young knew better.
Young, who experienced tightness in his right shoulder after his first start, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday, retroactive to April 7.
He was originally to start the Padres' home opener, but when that became a no-go, he was hoping to pitch later in the week during the homestand. On Sunday, though, the team decided to go the cautious route, placing him on the disabled list.
Young said he's fine with the decision.
"I'm disappointed I'm not out there today or when my next start would have been. But I see the big picture," Young said. "It makes sense to give it a little bit extra rest to make sure it doesn't linger."
Faced with a similar decision a year ago, when he had pain in his shoulder, Young opted to pitch on. He was finally shut down after a start on June 14 and had shoulder surgery a month later.
"Given what I went through last summer, I didn't want to pitch through it," Young said. "I learned the hard way last year, when I pushed through it and ended up needing surgery. It's not worth risking."
With Young out, Padres' rotation in flux
SAN DIEGO -- Padres manager Bud Black said Sunday the team would place starting pitcher Chris Young on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder.
As promised, the team did just that Monday before its home opener against Atlanta.
The Padres placed Young on the disabled list retroactive to April 7, the day after the right-hander tossed six scoreless innings in his first start of the season against Arizona.
Relief pitcher Adam Russell, one of the last cuts coming out of Spring Training, was recalled from Triple-A Portland. Russell arrived just before Monday's game and was available to pitch if needed.
Russell posted a 2.45 ERA in a team-best 11 appearances in Spring Training. He was acquired in July from the White Sox along with three pitchers in the Jake Peavy deal.
Black said his revamped rotation will now have Clayton Richard pitching Wednesday, Mat Latos on Thursday and Jon Garland on Friday in the first game of a three-game series against the D-backs.
Kevin Correia, who started Monday, will next start Saturday. The team will need a starting pitcher for Sunday. That could be Tim Stauffer, who hasn't allowed a run in two appearances in 2010. But that will depend on whether the team needs him in long relief this week.
The Padres will likely push that decision until later in the week. Wade LeBlanc, who like Russell was one of the last cuts in camp, could get that start. He's currently in the starting rotation in Portland.
Around the horn
Reliever Joe Thatcher (strained left shoulder) can come off the disabled list any day. But he will remain with Triple-A Portland for the meantime. Thatcher allowed one run in his one inning of work Saturday and will pitch again Tuesday and then on Thursday. There's no timetable for his return. The pitcher who took his spot on the Padres 25-man roster, left-hander Cesar Ramos, has retired all four left-handed batters that he's faced in three games. ... San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers threw out the ceremonial first pitch Monday. First-year Padres broadcaster Dick Enberg was the master of ceremonies.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.