MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun is out of the lineup for the second consecutive game due to back spasms.
Braun’s back first flared up during batting practice prior to last Saturday’s game in Cincinnati and was forced to leave the game in the second inning. He missed Sunday’s series finale with the Reds but was back in Milwaukee’s lineup Monday against Philadelphia.
After hitting a double in the eighth inning Monday, Braun was removed for a pinch runner after it was clear he had aggravated the injury by the way he ran to second base.
Braun felt better Wednesday than he did Tuesday, but Brewers manager Ron Roenicke doesn’t want to have to pull the right fielder early if the back flares up.
"Hopefully obviously as soon as possible," Braun said of a potential return. "I’m available; I was available last night. The challenge is getting it to a point to where it’s not going to revert back to where it was (Tuesday). I’m optimistic I’ll get back in there as soon as possible."
While he may have been able to pinch hit Tuesday, Braun was not available to play the outfield. With no reserve outfielder on the bench, Roenicke had to insert Scooter Gennett in right field after Rickie Weeks pinch hit for Logan Schafer. It was the first time the second baseman had played the outfield in his professional career.
Braun is hitting .291 with 11 home runs and 49 RBI in 69 games for the Brewers this season.
Lucroy rests: The Brewers are using their 65th different lineup of the season Wednesday, as catcher Jonathan Lucroy also is out against the Phillies. Lucroy was just getting a day off, as he has played Milwaukee’s last 11 games and caught 10 of them.
"He needs a day off," Roenicke said. "He’s caught a lot. He’s played at a really high level. We’re trying to get him to continue to do that. Yesterday, his at-bats were a little bit different and behind the plate he might have been a little different.
"Hopefully this little bit of a rest and again, he’s available off the bench; it’s nice when you can pull a guy off the bench in any situation and you can pick when you do it."
With Braun and Lucroy out, Roenicke had to find a No. 2 hitter with Gennett hitting in the No. 3 spot. His options were Jean Segura and Logan Schafer, opting to go with Segura despite his .181 batting average in June and July because the manager wanted to avoid having back-to-back lefties in the lineup.
"We’re trying to get him more consistent," Roenicke said of Segura. "He talked to me a little bit today and he thinks there are some things he can do, mechanically, to help himself out. The hard part is to change things during the season. Physically and mechanically, when you change something, it takes some time to get comfortable with it and it’s hard to do when you’re fighting and scratching to get hits.
"He’s frustrated. He wants to get it going and start helping us the way he knows he can. He’s done a great job for us defensively, but we need him to hit."
All-Star addition: Right-hander Mike Fiers has been added to the Pacific Coast League All-Star team Wednesday and will represent the Nashville Sounds at the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 16.
Fiers is 6-4 with a 2.63 ERA in 13 starts in Triple-A this season. He’s walked just 11 batters and struck out 103 in 78 2/3 innings for the Sounds.
The 29-year-old spent a two-week stretch with the Brewers in June, posting a 2.57 ERA in seven innings out of the bullpen.
Fiers will join fellow starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson and reliever Donovan Hand as Nashville’s All-Star representatives.