Lopez out of lineup with tweaked tendon

Lopez out of lineup with tweaked tendon

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers' hottest hitter was out of the lineup on Wednesday, but Felipe Lopez expressed confidence that his sore foot wouldn't sideline him for long.

Lopez tweaked a tendon that runs from his big toe through the arch of his right foot while scoring on Ryan Braun's two-run single amid a five-run Brewers rally in the ninth inning of Tuesday's loss to the Reds. He rounded third base, felt pain in his foot, then limped across the plate and exited the game.

"I'm not too worried about it," Lopez said Wednesday afternoon. "This is something that I can play through. It's not like a hamstring injury, where it's sore for a long while.

"I think they just wanted to give me a day off to get a feel for it, instead of throwing me in the fire. They want me to test it out and see what I have to do to play through it."

The Brewers' athletic training staff was similarly unconcerned, according to manager Ken Macha. The injury didn't require X-rays, Lopez said.

Lopez participated in batting practice on Wednesday but Macha couldn't say whether he would be available for pinch-hit duties. The Brewers were already playing one position player short since moving to a 13-man pitching staff on Tuesday, when starter Jeff Suppan returned from the disabled list.

Macha pinch-hit for Suppan in the fifth inning of Tuesday's game, so after he double-switched for the injured Lopez after the ninth, Macha was left with no more position players. He had to use right-hander Yovani Gallardo as a pinch-hitter in the 13th inning, and Gallardo lined out deep to left field to end the game.

Even if his absence proves brief, Lopez represents a serious loss at the top of the Brewers' lineup. He went 4-for-5 on Tuesday in his third four-hit performance since joining Milwaukee in a July 19 trade, and he is hitting .363 as a Brewer. From the date of the trade through Tuesday, Lopez led the team with 49 hits, including 10 doubles, ranked second among the regulars with 22 runs scored and a .419 on-base percentage and ranked third on the club with 19 RBIs despite hitting in the leadoff hole.

"He's been a hit machine," Macha said. "We'll check him [on Thursday] and see how he's doing."

Lopez is a free agent at season's end and projects as a Type B player who would bring Draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere, providing the Brewers extend him an arbitration offer. That could prove a tricky decision for club officials, because they are also counting on second baseman Rickie Weeks returning from injury.

With Lopez sidelined on Wednesday, Macha used right fielder Jody Gerut as his leadoff hitter. It was the 80th start in the leadoff hole of Gerut's career.

He has been on a hot streak over his last 22 games entering Wednesday, batting .345 (10-for-29) over that span including his first Brewers home run on Monday in Washington, D.C. It's been quite a turnaround for Gerut, who went 4-for-41 to begin his Brewers career after a surprise trade from San Diego.

"I had planned to start him today, regardless [of Lopez's availability]," Macha said.

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