Back issues crop up again for Braun

Braun unsure if he'll play in finale

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers slugger Ryan Braun is sounding a bit tired of talking about back injuries.

A lower back ailment dogged him last August and September and popped up again this spring, and now it's an upper back issue that's causing some trouble. Braun was held out of the lineup on Saturday because of tightness, and he wasn't sure whether he would play in Sunday's series finale against the Diamondbacks at Miller Park.

"I'll get here early, see how I feel," Braun said after the Brewers lost Saturday, 4-1.

He's convinced that all of his different tweaks are related. Braun was asked if that is cause for worry.

"Nah, I don't care. I don't worry about it," he said. "I really don't. I can't. It does me no good to be concerned about it.

"I'm not going to change my swing. I'm not going to change my workouts. I'm not going to change anything, and hopefully I'll be able to stay healthy. If I could pinpoint exactly why it was happening or how I was injuring it, obviously I would stop doing that. But other than that, it does me no good to be worried or concerned."

Brewers manager Ken Macha didn't seem overly concerned, either. He waited to post a starting lineup until just before batting practice on Saturday, and might wait again on Sunday to see if Braun can play.

"He complained about a little tightness [Friday]," Macha said. "What they said is it got tighter as the game went on. ... [The doctor] felt like if he cut it loose, he might tear something. So is he going to play [Sunday] or Monday, I couldn't tell you that."

If Braun can get back in the lineup for Sunday's series finale, he would give his bat, and not just his bobblehead, a chance to do some talking.

The Brewers are expecting a third consecutive sellout, and all fans will get a Braun bobblehead that shows the slugger rounding the bases after his go-ahead home run in last year's regular-season finale against the Cubs.

About 1,000 of the dolls come with a special feature. Push a button, and a tiny speaker embedded in the base of the bobble plays Bob Uecker's radio call of the home run that propelled the team into the playoffs.

"It's really cool," Braun said. "I've never seen a talking bobbhehead before."

Only single seats remain for Sunday's game. Standing-room-only tickets for Sunday were already exhausted by the time Saturday's game began.

Pitching matchup
MIL: RHP Dave Bush (1-0, 4.50 ERA)
Five days after carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning in Philadelphia, Bush surrendered his first hit to the third batter he faced on Tuesday. It was one of six Pirates hits off Bush, who lasted just five innings and surrendered five runs, four of them earned. Four of the runs scored on two-run doubles by Wisconsin natives -- the first by Eric Hinske in the third inning and the other by Jason Jaramillo in the fifth after Bush brushed the jerseys of Pirates hitters with consecutive pitches. He'll aim for better command against the D-backs. Bush is 4-1 with a 4.15 ERA in five previous starts against Arizona.

ARI: RHP Yusmeiro Petit (0-2, 8.62 ERA)
Petit has taken Brandon Webb's place in the rotation while the right-hander is on the disabled list with shoulder stiffness. The right-hander struggled in his last start against the Cubs on Tuesday. After working two scoreless innings, he gave up a three-run homer to Alfonso Soriano. That seemed to open the floodgates as one inning later the Cubs chased him from the game with a four-run rally. In two starts prior to that, Petit allowed five earned runs in 10 innings. Unfortunately the bullpen struggled both times. Petit has filled the spot-starter/long-relief role for the D-backs the past two seasons. Though he doesn't possess overpowering stuff, he has a good feel for pitching and generally has good command.

Assistant general manager Gord Ash said it was by design that pitching prospect Mark Rogers worked only one inning for Class A Brevard County on Saturday after missing his previous start. Rogers struck out a batter in a 1-2-3 first inning for Brevard County against Lakeland in his first outing since his bruised his surgically-repaired right shoulder banging into the outfield wall while shagging flies in batting practice. The Brewers are taking an extra-cautious approach with the former first-round Draft pick, and Rogers will pitch two innings next time out, Ash said. ... Bill Hall was 1-for-4 on Saturday and has a hit in 19 of his 21 starts, including each of his past eight games. ... Mike Cameron's 10th double left him tied for the National League lead.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FS Wisconsin, Telemundo (Español)

On radio
• WTMJ 620, WRRD 1510 (Español)

Up next
• Monday: Brewers (Yovani Gallardo, 3-1, 2.86) at Pirates (Paul Maholm, 3-0, 3.09), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Tuesday: Brewers (Jeff Suppan, 1-2, 5.88) at Pirates (Ian Snell, 1-3, 3.72), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: Brewers (Manny Parra, 0-4, 5.33) at Reds (Bronson Arroyo, 4-1, 4.91), 6:10 p.m. CT

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.