PITTSBURGH -- Left fielder Ryan Braun learned there was no structural damage in his stiff back after undergoing hospital tests on Monday, then flew from Milwaukee to Pittsburgh and hit a tying, two-run double in the eighth inning against the Pirates.
The Brewers did not expect Braun to play Monday night and, perhaps, Tuesday, but he went to PNC Park immediately after his flight landed in Pittsburgh and was in uniform in time to tie it at 3 with his pinch-hit double to right off John Grabow. The Brewers went on to win 7-4 on Rickie Weeks' three-run homer in the ninth inning.
Braun began having problems last week after being hit in the back by a pitch from the Pirates' Jeff Karstens. He had one hit in his next 14 at-bats before sitting out games Saturday and Sunday against Arizona on the recommendation of the Brewers' medical staff.
Braun said doctors told him there was some inflammation and swelling, but he can't further injure his back by playing. Braun also needed an MRI during spring training because of discomfort in the rib cage area.
"It's just mentally nice for me to know there's no structural damage, no cracked ribs, and I'm not risking doing any long-term damage," Braun said after the game. "I can work through a little bit [of pain] of play. It's definitely comforting that I'm not at risk to be done for the year. I hope I can compensate and find a way to get by."
With Braun unavailable to start, the Brewers moved third baseman Bill Hall to left field -- but only for an inning.
After making a sliding catch of Freddy Sanchez's line drive and running down a routine fly in the first, Hall was taken out in the second due to cramping in his right hamstring and replaced by Chris Duffy. The game ended with Braun in left field.
Manager Ken Macha said Hall might be bothered for another day, but the problem apparently isn't serious.
Macha, the Brewers' first-year manager, was unaware Hall had not played left field previously in the majors, although he did once during a major leaguers' tour of Japan. Hall disliked starting in center field two years ago and welcomed the switch back to the infield last season.
Hall primarily has been an infielder during his eight-season career, but played 130 games as a center fielder with Milwaukee in 2007.