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BRAUN SITS WITH SORE BACK


BRAUN SITS WITH SORE BACK
Left fielder Ryan Braun was absent from the Milwaukee Brewers' starting lineup for Saturday night's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Miller Park because of tightness in his back.

The problem arose during Friday night's 5-2 loss, Brewers manager Ken Macha said during his pregame session with reporters Saturday.

Braun's absence forced Macha to juggle his lineup, with Chris Duffy starting in left and hitting sixth. Right fielder Corey Hart, Milwaukee's regular No. 2 hitter, dropped into the third spot in place of Braun.

"(Braun) complained of a little tightness," Macha said. "I don't know exactly where it is, (but) it's in his back.

"What they said was it got tighter as the game went on yesterday," Macha said. "I don't know."

Braun wasn't in the clubhouse when it was open to reporters following batting practice. After a torrid road trip, Braun is 4-for-18 with seven strikeouts during the current homestand and 1-for-8 in the series.

Also, Craig Counsell started at shortstop for the second straight night in place of the slumping J.J. Hardy, who Macha was giving a mental break. Hardy is hitting just .156 with three home runs and seven RBIs.

"We're using our bench today a little bit," Macha said.

Not crying foul

Baseball's instant replay policy was a hot topic before the game, after the Diamondbacks benefited from Tony Clark 's controversial double down the left field line in the eighth inning Friday.

The hit - ruled fair by third base umpire Brian Gorman - broke a 2-all tie and was the key hit in Arizona's four-run inning. But, while his team may have benefited if replay could have been used - currently it only can on home runs - Macha said he's not a fan of instant replay in any sport because it slows down the game.

Macha pointed to some of the most memorable plays in the history of sports - such as Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris ' "Immaculate Reception" in 1972 - that could have possibly been overruled with the use of replay.

"I'd rather just play the game," Macha said. "If you really slowed down Jackie Robinson 's steal of home when Yogi Berra was there, he might have been out. ... Let the guys play."

However, Macha admitted he did look at a replay and thought the ball was foul.

"That was a very difficult play," he said. "To me it looked like when the ball hit the dirt, dirt went on the line."

Two up, one down

As for the events that led up to Clark's double, Macha said he would have liked to see reliever Carlos Villanueva establish himself inside. Villanueva issued a two-out walk and gave up a single before being pulled for Todd Coffey . Clark's double came two batters later.

"They weren't worried about the ball inside, just laying out over the end of the plate. ...," Macha said. "You've got to let these guys know you can come inside."

However, Macha was encouraged by the performances of two of his other relievers: Seth McClung , who tossed a scoreless inning for his fourth straight outing without allowing a run, and Jorge Julio , who struck out two in a clean ninth for his second straight solid appearance. McClung and Julio also each pitched a scorelss inning Saturday.

"It'd be nice if we can get everybody kind of in that contributing role," Macha said.

Tight rope

Twelve of the Brewers' 23 games before Saturday had been decided by two runs or less. Milwaukee was 7-5 in those contests.

"I think teams that are in a lot of close games are good teams," Macha said.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 5, 2009

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