Roenicke reluctantly holds Braun out of lineup
Brewers outfielder dealing with neck issues; hits well vs. Bucs starter Burnett
PITTSBURGH -- Left fielder Ryan Braun took Monday night off against the Pirates. He's been getting treatment since the start of Spring Training for a back problem, and has had issues with a stiff neck since early April.
The Brewers had lost four in a row entering the series opener at PNC Park, and it was not an easy decision for manager Ron Roenicke to sit Braun, especially because he is 6-for-14 in his career against Pirates starter A.J. Burnett. Nonetheless, Logan Schafer started in left field.
"I don't want him out of there," Roenicke said. "But physically, he's been fighting the neck issue. He wasn't sure if he was going to be able to play the games in Cincinnati and said somewhere, whether it was yesterday or today, he needed a day off.
"I certainly don't want to do it. It's different when you are playing well and things are going good, and you want to give the guy a day, but we need him and he does hit Burnett well."
Braun is batting .306 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs.
"We were just trying to figure out a day that works best," Braun said. "So the numbers against an opponent don't factor in, it's just a day that works best for us and the challenges of trying to stay as close to a hundred percent healthy as possible over the course of a season. I'm fine and I am available tonight. I'll be back in there tomorrow."
Weeks gets first breather in opener with Bucs
PITTSBURGH -- Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks was not in the lineup for the first time on Monday. In his stead, Yuniesky Betancourt started at second base, while Blake Lalli got the nod at first.
Weeks struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of a 5-1 win over the Pirates in the series opener.
"We're trying to figure out whether we needed to give [Weeks] a day," manager Ron Roenicke said. "It got to the point where we felt like we needed to try something a little different. We'll see, hopefully a day off will help him. We need him to swing, we need him in our lineup. I don't think it will be two days, but it will be a day, and then we'll see how it goes after that."
Weeks is batting .100 (1-for-10) on the current road trip.
"He's not going to like it," Roenicke said. "I already mentioned to him to make sure he is going to be ready when I need him for a pinch-hitter. He told me before that: 'When you want me off, tell me I'm off. If you ask me whether I want a day off, I'm never going to tell you I need it.' So I don't ask him. I thought it was a good day today and so I told him he was off."
• The Brewers are 72-25 against the Pirates since 2007, which is the best record by one team against a National League Central opponent during this stretch, following Monday's 5-1 win. The Brewers had a nine-game winning streak vs. Pittsburgh snapped on May 1 at Miller Park.
• The Brewers are 24-12 at PNC Park since 2008, which marks the best record by a Pirates' divisional opponent. The Brewers have won the last five games in Pittsburgh.
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.