The LA Angels were expecting to have a powerful line-up in 2019 with Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Albert Pujols, and Justin Upton. Upton and Ohtani started on the IL.
Shohei Ohtani was only out for a month, but Upton has not been n the LA Angels line-up yet. However, that will change Monday as Upton is set to make his season debut in Toronto on Monday.
Upton has spent the last week rehabbing in San Bernardino for the Angels Single-A affiliate the Inland Empire 66ers. Upton played six games for the Sixers playing the field in five games and finished up last Friday going 4 for 5 with two home runs, four runs scored, and four RBIs. Overall he hit .333 with two homers six RBIs with an OBP .440.
Watching him play a couple of times, run the bases, and play the field Upton looked really good. The Angels are looking forward to Upton’s return as they will have the two, three, four combination in the line-up that they expected to have going into the season until both Upton and Ohtani had injuries that would not allow them to start the season for the Angels.
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When the Angels traded for Upton in August of 2017 he was an MVP candidate hitting 35 homers with 109 RBIs and a .273 average. The Angels extended Upton for 108 million dollars over five seasons. Upon doing so they hoped they had found a perfect complement to Mike Trout to pair with him in the middle of the order.
The Angels also added Shohei Ohtani as well in 2018 which seemed to make a mini-murderer’s row, but Upton slumped slightly hitting 30 homers and drove in 85 RBIs with a .257 batting average. Upton was hoping to have a bounce back season in 2019 before getting injured.
Now Upton will have his chance to help the Angels get back in the playoff race starting in the Angels upcoming four-game series in Toronto. The Angels will also have to make a decision on who to demote from the current roster to the minor leagues.
There are a few candidates which include Cesar Puello, Brian Goodwin, Luis Rengifo, or Wilfredo Tovar. With Andrelton Simmons still out with an injury Rengifo and Tovar are still needed in the infield so Puello or Goodwin are the most likely candidates to be sent down. However, Goodwin’s versatility (he can play all three outfield spots) and that he is a left-handed batter may make him a leg up on Puello.
However, we will see what the Angels decide to do with the roster spot. The bottom line is that Justin Upton is finally back and we will now see how much of a difference he will make to help the Angels offense even better.
“I can’t wait to get back with the guys and go out on the field and compete with them,” said Upton last week. “I like to go out there and compete every night. Hopefully I can mix in and drive some runs and play good defense to help us win.”
Welcome back Justin!