Aramis hopes to return to lineup on Saturday

Aramis hopes to return to lineup on Saturday

ST. LOUIS -- Third baseman Aramis Ramirez took another day Friday to rest his balky lower back and hoped to resume his march to a seventh 100-RBI season on Saturday.

Ramirez, 11 RBIs shy of reaching the century mark for the first time since 2008, tweaked his back on a swing on Wednesday night in Miami. He spoke of improvement from Thursday to Friday and characterized the decision to sit out the Brewers' scheduled season-opener at Busch Stadium as precautionary.

"That's something that you don't want to rush," he said. "If I tweak that again, I would probably be out for the rest of the season."

Instead, he wants to finish strong in the first season of a three-year deal struck just after last December's Winter Meetings. After a slow start, Ramirez had batted .327 over his last 88 games, boosting his batting average from .218 to .295. He leads the National League with 43 doubles and entered Friday among the league leaders in extra-base hits (third, 66), RBIs (sixth, 89) and slugging percentage (seventh, .523).

"I always said that if I'm healthy and play the game the way I'm supposed to be playing, the numbers will be there," Ramirez said. "I don't care about how I start -- at the end, they will be there if I play the way I'm supposed to be playing."