A strain. A tweak. A "little something."

And so it begins. Or continues.

At least, that's how it's seemed to have started for so many of the 13 Padres on the disabled list, a designation that's becoming part of the story of this club and several others around baseball. Some seemingly minor discomfort grows into full-fledged pain, causing a player to miss a game or a pitcher to miss a turn, and then it's much worse. In the most recent case, left-handed starter Cory Luebke, a strained elbow eventually became Tommy John surgery.

This not to prematurely suggest that there's now something seriously wrong with third baseman Chase Headley, but the veteran switch-hitter was the latest Padres player to acknowledge a problem, the recurrence of a lower back issue that prompted manager Bud Black to withhold him from Tuesday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

Headley dismissed the seriousness of the "discomfort," concurring with Black that he'd have been available for pinch hitting duty Tuesday night.

"His back has been a little tight the last few days, so we didn't want to take a chance, pushing him through another game," said Black. "We want to let this calm down, not have him up there at the plate with a back situation that could potentially get worse. You've got to use your whole roster."