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Smith feeling better after lower back issue

WASHINGTON -- There was no humorous anecdote behind Brewers reliever Will Smith showing up for work after the All-Star break unable to pitch because of a bad back. He simply woke up on his final day off feeling stiff.

"All I did over the break was play golf and sit by the pool," said Smith, who stayed at his parents' home in Georgia. "I play golf a lot, so there's nothing out of the ordinary there. But I woke up Wednesday morning and I was like, 'Oh, that doesn't feel good.'"

He received treatment Friday and was deemed a no-go for the Brewers' second-half opener against the Nationals. Another left-hander, Zach Duke, helped preserve a 4-2 win.

Smith played catch Saturday afternoon and was feeling much better.

Having Duke (1.16 ERA and unscored upon in his last 10 outings entering Saturday) as a backup for Smith (55 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings this season) is, "Pretty good," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "When [general manager] Doug [Melvin] talked to Zach about coming over with is, one of the things he said was, 'Look, we haven't had [a surplus of] left-handers here before, and you've got a really good chance to make our team.'"

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy.
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