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J. Upton likely to sit out series finale with sore back

Left fielder strains back in collision, suffers lower back contusion on hit-by-pitch

ATLANTA -- Braves left fielder Justin Upton was still showing signs of discomfort as he prepared to exit Turner Field with a sore back after Saturday night's 2-0 win over the Cubs.

Upton strained his back in the fourth inning when he took the brunt of a collision as he tagged out Anthony Rizzo in front of second base at the end of a long rundown. He exited two innings later immediately after getting hit in the left side by Jeff Samardzija's 94-mph fastball.  

"With the back, it doesn't have to hit you in the same spot," Upton said. "I don't know if it did or didn't. All I know is my back locked up again."

The Braves labeled Upton's injury as a lower back muscle contusion. Manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated he will give his veteran outfielder a chance to rest Sunday. There is some hope Upton will play in Monday's series opener in San Francisco. But he will first have to deal with a cross-country flight.

Upton put his hands on his knees and remained near second base after the collision. He convinced Braves assistant trainer Jim Lovell he was fit to remain in the game and singled in his next at-bat. But he was not able to continue once he tensed up again after getting hit with Samardzija's heater.

"We thought we dodged a bullet when he went back out there and then he got a base hit," Gonzalez said. "But then it got him right in the same spot. We'll see how he feels [Sunday]. But with a short turnaround, we'll probably let him rest. Hopefully, it doesn't materialize into anything more than a sore back."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for
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