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Levine: Rizzo's Back Injury Could End His Season

By Bruce Levine--

(CBS) -- Cubs All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo may sit out the last 24 games of the season with a lower back strain. Rizzo confirmed Tuesday that an MRI revealed a lower back strain that he incurred on Aug. 16 in Cincinnati.

The 24-year-old Rizzo hit his 30th home run and then experienced lower back stiffness after a lengthy rain delay in Cincinnati. He has missed all seven of his team's games since leaving the game on the Aug. 26.

"It is what it is," Rizzo said. "There is nothing I can do about it. It is obviously frustrating."

For now, Rizzo is going the usual route of medication and rest before starting core exercises as part of his rehab.

"When I twist, I feel it," he said in reference to the area of pain. "When I swing it hurts. It is kind of relieving that the MRI showed something. I am not going crazy anymore. If we wait here 10 days, we might start up again."

Even if Rizzo doesn't play again this season, he has proved he is one of the top power hitters in baseball this season. His 30 home runs are second only to Giancarlo Stantonin the NL. Rizzo is also fourth in total bases and eighth in runs scored. On defense, Rizzo was having a Gold Glove-like season, leading the league in assists, putouts and total chances before going down with the bad back.

"I am not worried about it if I am," Rizzo said after being asked if he may be out for the season. "It will be a good opportunity for the guys here. If I am shut down, I am shut down. My main concern is being full strength in the offseason. Obviously I want to come back and play. It is something we decided we are not going to go crazy and rush to get back. We don't want this to reoccur. We want it to be the first and last time it ever happens."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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