SAN DIEGO -- Luke Gregerson was able to play four days of catch during the Padres' road stops in Minnesota and Boston -- two days, followed by a day off and then two additional days.
Gregerson's first two days of catch were easy. Then, after the day off, he backed up to playing catch at 90 feet.
But the reliever hasn't felt the same pinch he felt warming up in the bullpen on June 8 in a game against the Rockies.
"I let a couple go, you know, not full go, but just nice, good hard throws," Gregerson said. "It's been feeling really good, the motion feels really good. I had a day off yesterday, so I'm going to go back out there today and do some more throwing. I know [Padres manager] Buddy [Black] wants me to do a little more moving when I'm throwing, too. So we're going to do that pretty shortly here."
Gregerson has been a key component of the Padres' success in the bullpen. Before going to the 15-day disabled list on June 9, Gregerson was 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA in 30 games.
Oblique injuries tend to require a little more caution than others, and the Padres are taking that approach.
"Hopefully, in the next couple of days he'll be able to go to the bullpen and throw off the mound. But he's feeling much better," Black said. "There's no timetable, but he's passing the necessary steps to get to the mound."
Eventually, those steps will lead Gregerson past deep-tissue massages and playing catch to simulated pitching. Until then, Gregerson is only as healthy as he's allowed to test himself.
"I'm not full go, so it could be just at that extreme level that I feel [the pain]. But hopefully, with the rehab we're doing, it's just going to be better," he said.
Headley rests ailing shoulder
SAN DIEGO -- While nearly every Padre was out stretching, throwing, running and hitting before San Diego's game on Friday, Chase Headley sat alone inside the clubhouse.
The Padres' third baseman was out of the team's lineup after he aggravated a right shoulder injury that dates back to a collision he had with Jason Bartlett when chasing a fly ball against the Nationals on June 9.
"It was just a fly ball down the line, and we were both going back and Bartlett slid underneath me," Headley said. "It kind of cut my legs out from under me, and I landed on my back. But somehow, it was my shoulder that took the worst of it."
Headley said he aggravated his shoulder on his last at-bat in Boston on Wednesday, when his back foot slipped, causing him to take an "awkward swing."
Though Headley said a day off can be a great refresher for a player's mind and body, he isn't expecting too many days off as a result of his shoulder. At least, that's the initial thought.
"I would say that it could be more than one day off," Headley said. "We're not viewing it now as a DL-type injury, I don't think. But we're going to get it right, because it's been something that's been kind of bothering me for a while."
But you wouldn't know it based on his numbers.
Headley was on a tear during the Padres' recent road trip, and has been for a while. Since May 21, Headley has batted .345, to raise his season average to .295. On the road this year, he's hitting .348.
Headley said he hasn't been able to test his shoulder much with baseball activity, but baseball activity hasn't been part of the plan for Headley since Wednesday's game.
"It didn't really improve to the point -- through the off-day or today -- where we felt that we should play him. So I guess we're going to keep an eye on this," said manager Bud Black said.
Venable's homer a by-product of time away
SAN DIEGO -- Will Venable hit his first career leadoff home run on Wednesday against the Red Sox.
By the end of the game, his deep shot to right field off John Lackey was more of a sub-subplot amid the four rain delays in the Padres' 5-1 win. But for Venable, it was a continued step in the right direction.
"He was throwing me four-seamers and cutters in -- and one pitch away. But I was trying to protect," Venable said. "He threw a cutter that missed out over the plate a little bit more than he would have liked, and I was able to put a good swing on it."
The homer came on a 2-2 count to Venable, whose father, Max, hit two leadoff home runs in the Major Leagues in 1990 and '91.
Venable has had an interesting year. He played 14 Minor League games in May and June to fix his batting approach. With Triple-A Tucson, Venable found his swing. The home run, he said, was a nice result of that time away.
"It doesn't mean that I'm going to come back and start hitting a bunch of homers or anything like that, but it was nice to put a good swing on a pitch that I know I can hit and drive," Venable said. "That was encouraging, that I have been doing the right things as far as my adjustment. I did find my swing. It gives me confidence, in that sense."
Mark Thompson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.