PITTSBURGH -- Right fielder Norichika Aoki, dealing with pain caused by tendinitis in his right knee, was absent from the Brewers' starting lineup Thursday for the third time in a seven-game stretch that includes two team off-days.
"I'm trying to make sure he's strong, and when he goes out there he feels as close to 100 percent as he can be," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He may not be 100 percent the rest of the season, but to keep asking him to grind it out all the time, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me."
Aoki limped to the dugout after a ninth-inning groundout on Wednesday, but he has managed to go 7-for-14 on the road trip.
Aoki and Roenicke discussed the idea of interspersing additional off-days throughout September, and the outfielder reluctantly agreed.
"It's sore, but it's not to the point where I can't play. I have been playing," Aoki said through translator Kosuke Inaji. "It's been bugging me for a while, but it's nothing I can't play through. The pain goes away after a little bit. I feel OK. ... I told [Roenicke] I want to play as much as possible, but at the same time I'll respect whatever decision he makes for me."