Back spasms continuing to hinder Yelich

Back spasms continuing to hinder Yelich

MIAMI -- Christian Yelich is still dealing with back discomfort, and the Marlins' left fielder wasn't available on Sunday for the second consecutive day. Ichiro Suzuki got the starting nod instead in the series finale with the Nationals at Marlins Park.

Yelich has dealt with back spasms the past few seasons, and for now the Marlins are listing him as day to day.

"We'll see how it goes," Yelich said Sunday morning. "My back is feeling all right. We'll see what happens. It's frustrating."

Yelich spent time on the disabled list with a lower back strain in the first halves of the 2014-15 seasons. It's unclear if he will be able to avoid a DL stint this time.

"It's day to day," the 24-year-old said. "It's frustrating."

Yelich, who has been Miami's most consistent player, is hitting .320/.420/.524 with five home runs and 20 RBIs. The left-handed hitter has secured the third spot in the order. On Saturday and Sunday, Derek Dietrich replaced him in the order.

Yelich's back locked up on Saturday while he was doing work indoors in the batting cages. He didn't go through drills on the field and was scratched about an hour before the first pitch.

With short notice to prepare, Ichiro had four hits and a walk. He entered Sunday with 2,954 hits, which is one shy of Willie Keeler (2,955) for 32nd place all time, according to Elias.

"Obviously, that's what I'm here for," Ichiro said through his interpreter. "I'm always trying to be the best fourth outfielder that I can. I was able to get that opportunity."

Normally, manager Don Mattingly likes to give Ichiro plenty of advanced notice of when he will start so the 42-year-old can thoroughly prepare.

Saturday's start was the first for Ichiro since May 8.

"It was a night game, so the preparations are pretty much the same," Ichiro said. "Obviously, if it would have happened in a day game, or there is not much time before the game, it would have been a little different."

With Yelich unavailable, the Marlins' backup outfield options are Ichiro and Cole Gillespie. Dietrich, who has been playing second base since Dee Gordon's suspension, is an option to play left, as well as Chris Johnson.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.