Russell Branyan's breakout first half - when he batted .280 with 24 home runs and 49 RBI - made him one of the most dangerous hitters in the Seattle lineup.
Branyan's back, and the tightness that's plagued him for more than two weeks, is ruining his second half, and his life.
In Seattle's loss to Kansas City, Branyan committed an error when a ground ball rolled between his legs.
He simply couldn't get down to field the ball - that's how bad his back has gotten. The Mariners are doing all they can to treat him, from shots to daily physical therapy.
Nothing has helped.
Since the All-Star break, Branyan is batting .172 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 64 at-bats. On the just-completed seven-game trip, he had five hits in 23 at-bats - and didn't hit a home run.
Branyan's a gamer, playing regularly for the first time in his major league career. He's trying to play through pain and both he and the Mariners know how much they need his bat.
If his back doesn't improve, it's hard to imagine Branyan not having to sit out another stretch of games, possibly from the disabled list.