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LaHair "50-50" to play Opening Day

Bryan LaHair hit .331 with 38 home runs at Triple-A Iowa last year, but he's got a bad back. Jennifer Hilderbrand/US Presswire

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair might not be able to make his first Opening Day start after all.

The 29-year-old rookie is being listed as "50-50" for Thursday's game against the Washington Nationals because of a bad back that cropped up in the last few days of spring training.

"Tomorrow it'll be, come in, get his treatment, do some tee work, some soft toss and then make an evaluation from there," manager Dale Sveum said. "If that goes really well then I let him hit, and if that goes really well, he'll be in the lineup."

The power hitter missed the last four Cactus League games because of the ailment, which has been slow to heal.

Manager Dale Sveum avoided setting an Opening Day lineup because of the injury, saying only that Blake DeWitt, Joe Mather or Jeff Baker would start at first if LaHair isn't ready. He will check video to see who's had better at-bats against Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg, but he isn't expecting to see anything definitive.

"I saw him in the training room and he's optimistic, but he's only going to play if he can help us," general manager Jed Hoyer said of LaHair. "It's not easy to hit Strasburg if you're not close to ready, so we'll figure it out if he can't go but he will certainly try to make it."

The injury isn't expected to require a trip to the disabled list, but as a precaution, Tony Campana worked out with the team Wednesday at Wrigley Field and figures to be the roster replacement if LaHair goes on the DL.

LaHair crushed 38 home runs with 109 RBI and a .331 batting average at Triple-A Iowa last season. He then added 15 more home runs in the Venezuelan winter league.

The New England native had a slow start this spring but rallied to bat .295. He didn't hit a home run, though.