Ryan Braun suffering from lower back problem

One would never know from watching him perform in recent weeks, but Ryan Braun has been playing with a bad back.

The Milwaukee Brewers' all-star right fielder was out of the starting lineup Wednesday night against St. Louis, scratched with lower back tightness. Braun didn't want to make a big deal of it, but it seemed more than a minor issue, perhaps something that might have to be addressed after the season.

"It's something that has built up over time," said Braun, who has been getting regular treatment on the back. "Some days are better than others. I've had some challenging days lately.

"I don't think it'll get better for a while. You just kind of grind through it. I don't want to get into it too much. There's some stuff going on. It's pretty serious. Hopefully, I'll be fine to play tomorrow."

The issue hasn't curtailed Braun's production at the plate. He is batting .376 (41 for 109) over his last 29 games with six home runs and 21 RBI. After hitting .417 on the Brewers' last trip, he has a .291 average with 25 home runs, 84 runs batted in and 23 stolen bases.

"I've been swinging the bat a lot better," said Braun, who was hampered in past seasons by a chronic thumb issue.

"I've got my bat path back to a place where it's really good. I'm back where I want to be where it's repeatable and give myself a lot of room for error. I'm hitting a lot of balls on the barrel. I still feel like I've hit the ball a lot better than the numbers indicate. But overall the swing's been pretty good."

Manager Craig Counsell said he was hopeful Braun would be back in the lineup Thursday night.

"Ryan's had an outstanding season," said Counsell. "He has been productive; he's been consistent, he's been a good all-around player, he's been good in the clubhouse.

"He has been a very, very good player. He's been an all-star. He has played like an all-star."

Bookmark and Share
blog comments powered by Disqus