"We'll keep an eye on him," Francona said. "If he needs a day off or something, we can certainly do that. But we don't ever want to turn something that could be a day or two into two weeks. But it's nice having him in the lineup, that's for sure."
Brantley finished third in the American League MVP Award voting last season, so any ailment affecting him this early in the season is going to qualify as worrisome. But both he and Francona downplayed the severity of the issue.
"I have some lower back discomfort," Brantley said. "It's something we have to work through. We have a great medical staff that's going to get me through it, and I'll be just fine. ... I'll do whatever I have to do to make sure I stay on that field every day."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.