8/16 Derrek Lee update

Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee had an injection in the epidural of his lower back to ease discomfort from a bulging disk.

“It doesn’t bother me swinging, just moving around on defense and trying to run,” Lee said Monday. “It gets pretty tight.”

Lee has homered in three straight games for the sixth time in his career, and the first time since June 18-20 last season. However, he’s hitting .251 overall. He didn’t blame his back problems on his numbers this year, saying it’s tough sometimes to bend over but it doesn’t affect his hitting.

Lou Piniella had a little trouble explaining what was wrong prior to Monday’s game.

“Derrek has a minor ball disk,” Piniella said, then corrected himself. “Minor bulge disk. How about that? ‘Ball disk.’ I feel like a mechanic.”

Lee was expected to miss two to three days. The problem is on the right side of his lower back.

“He went to [athletic trainer Mark O’Neal] during the game [Sunday] and right away we took him out of the ballgame,” said Piniella, who removed Lee from the game on Sunday as a precautionary measure.

– Carrie Muskat

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