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Feeling better, Burrell in Phillies' lineup

Feeling better, Burrell in Phillies' lineup

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PHILADELPHIA -- Pat Burrell finished batting practice Wedneday, approached Phillies manager Charlie Manuel behind the cage and appeared to say three words.

"I can play."

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Minutes later, Manuel said Burrell would start in left field and hit fifth against Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo in Game 1 of the National League Division Series. He hit a home run off the righty last season.

Burrell felt discomfort in his lower back after taking a swing during Tuesday's workout and hobbled off the field. Head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan said Burrell felt better Wednesday, but the team wanted to see how he felt after batting practice.

"He hasn't had anything [back-related] this year," Sheridan said. "When he was at University of Miami, he had a history of some back problems there. He's real sharp when it comes to this stuff and how to take care of himself. It makes it a lot easier to get him a feel for how he's doing or if he's ready to play or not."

Had Burrell not started, Manuel said Matt Stairs would've started in right field, with Jayson Werth shifting to left. While the main thought was ensuring that Burrell could play against lefty CC Sabathia in Game 2 on Thursday, the outfielder talked his way into Wednesday's lineup.

At this point, Burrell will be playing through any discomfort.

"Our biggest thing is to make sure we put him in place to succeed," Sheridan said. "We don't want to put him out there to fail. Pat obviously wants to play."

Burrell carried the Phillies in April -- hitting .326 with eight homers and 25 RBIs -- but struggled in the final two months, batting .191 with seven homers and 48 strikeouts in 178 at-bats.

After the Phillies' 3-1 victory, Burrell said his back was "fine."

Here's the Phillies' lineup for Game 1:

1. SS Jimmy Rollins
2. RF Jayson Werth
3. 2B Chase Utley
4. 1B Ryan Howard
5. LF Pat Burrell
6. CF Shane Victorino
7. 3B Pedro Feliz
8. C Carlos Ruiz
9. LHP Cole Hamels

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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