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Mujica has nagging back issue checked out

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals closer Edward Mujica met with Dr. Clayton Skaggs late Thursday afternoon and was deemed unavailable to pitch in the team's series opener that evening due to lingering tightness in the right upper side of his back.

While St. Louis is encouraged by the fact that nothing is structurally wrong, Mujica said he may have to sit out at least one more night in order to mitigate the issue.

"It's bothering me just in my back, sometimes like in a nerve, just going through my muscles like a little fatigue," Mujica said. "We've just been working on it a lot and trying to get it ready to go."

Mujica pitched 1 1/3 innings and earned his 33rd save on Wednesday, but he was straining enough to warrant a mound visit from the trainer. The Cardinals had given Mujica three days off over the weekend due to what was described at the time as arm fatigue. Mujica noted on Thursday that he has been dealing with this muscle issue since making a two-inning appearance against the Pirates one week ago.

That was the third straight two-inning appearance Mujica had made.

"I felt it after the game ... and when I got in to Chicago, I just started feeling a little tightness in my neck, and when I went Tuesday, I started feeling it in the back," Mujica said.

If, while Mujica is sidelined, a situation arises to where the Cards need a fill-in closer, those duties would likely fall to Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal pitched a scoreless ninth with a four-run lead in Thursday's 6-2 win.

Asked about the immediate outlook for Mujica, manager Mike Matheny said the club remains "hopeful for [Friday]."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.
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