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Yelich pinch hits after 4 games out with back issue

Milwaukee Brewers star Christian Yelich missed his fifth straight start because of back stiffness Sunday, but the reigning NL MVP batted for reliever Alex Claudio in the eighth inning of the 1-0 loss to the Texas Rangers.

The sold-out crowd of 44,411 greeted Yelich with "M-V-P" chants, but the slugger struck out on a 92 mph offering from Mike Minor.

Yelich, who leads the majors with 39 home runs, should return to the starting lineup for Tuesday's game against the Twins at Miller Park.

"If he was 100 percent ready to go, he'd be in the lineup," manager Craig Counsell said before Sunday's game. "He's progressing to more activity today, a pretty good level of activity, so we'll get through that activity and we may consider him available for an at-bat today. If he has a good day before the game today, I'd say we're in good shape for Tuesday."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.