ATLANTA -- First baseman Anthony Rizzo, scratched from Friday's game because of tightness in his back, returned to the Cubs' lineup for Saturday's 8-2 win over the Braves and hit a solo homer in the fourth inning off Matt Wisler.
"He went down and took some swings and felt really good, so he's playing," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said before the game. "[On Friday], it just kind of locked up on him. I think it was one of those things where, when it happens, you're afraid to test it, and once he tested it, he found out, 'I'm OK,' and then he was ready to go."
The leading vote-getter in the National League All-Star balloting, Rizzo said he did some exercises on Saturday and felt better.
"I came here today expecting to play, and it feels good, so I'm ready to go," Rizzo said. "I think it's more about being smart about it and not trying to be a hero in June. It's a long season, so instead of going out there and pushing it and maybe set myself back longer, you take a day. [Friday], it would've been tough for me to get going. I feel good today."
How much different are the Cubs with Rizzo?
"Just read the lineup -- it's like when you read a novel, when it's missing a paragraph or a chapter," Maddon said. "When you put his name in the lineup, everything looks different. ... The other team looks at it differently, so it's very important to have him in the lineup."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.