Derrek Lee missed Sunday’s game with a strained muscle in his right side, but manager Bobby Cox said the first baseman would likely return to the lineup for Monday’s series opener against the New York Mets.
Lee said he strained his right side swinging the bat during Friday’s game, then felt the same soreness Saturday and was removed in the fourth inning.
“It’s pretty good,” Lee said Sunday morning. “Just a little bite when I swung a couple of nights ago.”
Taking him out of Saturday’s game “was just kind of precautionary,” Lee said.
He hit off a tee indoors at Turner Field before Sunday’s game and spent the rest of the morning in the training room.
“I don’t think it’s an oblique [muscle] or anything,” said Cox, referring to the side-muscle injury that can often require a stint on the disabled list. “He’s there for us if we need him [to play Sunday].
“But I think if we can get through the day without him doing anything, it’ll maybe help that thing and he can open up against the Mets.”
Lee is just 4-for-29 (.138) with three doubles, five RBIs and eight strikeouts in eight games since coming from the Chicago Cubs in an Aug. 18 trade for three minor-league pitchers.
“He told me, ‘I’ve been on and off all year, haven’t found a comfortable spot all year long,’” Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton said. “We’re trying to get him comfortable. Get him healthy and get him comfortable, see what happens.”