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Braun leaves vs. Mets with back tightness

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

NEW YORK -- So much for the talk of the Brewers having too many outfielders.

Continuing Milwaukee's snake-bitten start to the season, longtime left fielder Ryan Braun exited Saturday's 5-1 win over the Mets in the middle of the fifth inning with back tightness. Braun, who has long required regular maintenance on his back and underwent surgery for a herniated disc in October 2015, had just singled and stolen second base in the top of the inning, but was replaced by Hernan Perez on defense when the Brewers took the field.

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NEW YORK -- So much for the talk of the Brewers having too many outfielders.

Continuing Milwaukee's snake-bitten start to the season, longtime left fielder Ryan Braun exited Saturday's 5-1 win over the Mets in the middle of the fifth inning with back tightness. Braun, who has long required regular maintenance on his back and underwent surgery for a herniated disc in October 2015, had just singled and stolen second base in the top of the inning, but was replaced by Hernan Perez on defense when the Brewers took the field.

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Braun is questionable for Sunday's scheduled series finale against Noah Syndergaard and the Mets.

"I irritated my back a little bit in the game [Friday]. I was kind of a 'maybe' coming into today and then it just locked up on me a little bit," Braun said. "So we'll just see how it is. It was locked up the whole game."

Then why was he stealing bases?

"Because I was instructed to," Braun said. "It was sore before I stole the base."

Braun's exit came a day after center fielder Lorenzo Cain returned from a two-day absence for a minor left quad injury and banged legs with right fielder Domingo Santana while they converged on a fly ball. Cain and Santana were both a bit banged up but were able to play on Saturday.

The team's other outfielder, Christian Yelich, remained on the 10-day disabled list with a right oblique injury. He is eligible for reinstatement on Sunday, but the Brewers will wait until sometime in their coming homestand to make that roster move.

Throughout Spring Training, manager Craig Counsell faced questions about how he would spread at-bats between Braun, Cain, Santana and Yelich, all of whom warrant regular playing time. Playing Braun at first base against left-handers was one solution, but after starting Milwaukee's first two games of the season there, Braun has not been back, partly because he's been needed in the outfield with Yelich out.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun