Upton hurts former team, Braves pound Diamondbacks
Justin Upton put on quite a show in his return to Phoenix.
“It was the Justin show,” Braves third baseman Chris Johnson said with a smile.
Upton, the first overall pick by Arizona in the 2005 amateur draft, was playing his first game at Chase Field since the offseason trade that sent him and Johnson to Atlanta in a seven-player deal.
Upton received a mixed reaction throughout the night, with the cheers barely outweighing the boos when he stepped in or took the field for the first time.
“It was mixed and that was what I expected,” Upton said. “It is what it is. I tried to have fun with it. This time the fans were yelling at me instead of cheering me, but it was good.”
Justin Upton-led Atlanta Braves rip Arizona
Justin Upton snapped a 14-game homerless drought and had four hits to help the Atlanta Braves rout the Diamondbacks 10-1 on Monday night in his return to Arizona.
Upton, the first overall pick by Arizona in the 2005 amateur draft, was playing his first game at Chase Field since the offseason trade that sent him and third baseman Chris Johnson to Atlanta in a seven-player deal.
Upton followed his brother B.J., who was hit on the left shoulder by Wade Miley (3-2) to lead off the sixth, and powered a fastball onto the porch above the center field fence for his 13th home run and first since April 27 at Detroit.
Johnson hit a two-run homer to cap Atlanta’s three-run fifth and Brian McCann also homered for the Braves, who ended a three-game losing streak.
B.J. Upton day to day after being hit by pitch
Braves center fielder B.J. Upton was fortunate to avoid serious injury when he was hit in the left shoulder by a Wade Miley fastball during the sixth inning of Monday night’s 10-1 win against the D-backs at Chase Field.
But after playing center field in the bottom of the sixth, Upton was removed before his at-bat in the seventh with what the Braves called a left shoulder contusion.
“I was initially good and I was alright on defense,” Upton said. “I just went to swing a bat and it was [tight].”“I really wasn’t thinking anything,” B.J. said. “I was still in pain. I was just glad I didn’t have to turn on the jets and run.”
Atlanta Braves Injury Update: Jason Heyward, Brandon Beachy and Jonny Venters Close to Returning
Jason Heyward, RF
Heyward will be the first to return to the field for the bereft Braves. Although he has been sidelined ever seen his emergency appendectomy surgery on April 22 in Denver, Heyward has already begun his minor league rehab assignments. While serving as the designated hitter for Triple-A Gwinnett, Heyward has hit just .167 in 15 plate appearances. Heyward’s comeback trail has had to take a couple of detours thanks to him needing to be scratched from the lineup due to soreness, and then getting one of his expected rehab games rained out. He had been tentatively scheduled to meet the Braves in the desert for their three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but now it seems more likely the All-Star right fielder won’t be ready to rejoin the big club until they return to Atlanta May 17-22 to play the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins in back-to-back series.
Brandon Beachy, SP
The 26-year-old right-hander was pitching like a true Major League ace before Tommy John surgery ended his 2012 season. Before his untimely injury, Beachy was leading all of baseball with a 2.00 ERA. Beachy, who has not seen a pitcher’s mound since June 16 of last year, is set to begin throwing in extended spring training games on Tuesday May 14. If everything goes according to plan, the Braves will send him to Atlanta for six Minor League rehab starts before reactivating him from the disabled list. The tentative return date for Beachy is targeted for the middle of June.
Jonny Venters, RP
The news on the Braves’ hard-throwing left-hander is not quite as promising as Beachy or Heyward’s prognosis. After hurting his elbow in the last week of spring training, Venters has been slow to return. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection from the infamous Dr. James Andrews on April 2, which was only supposed to keep him sidelined for a month. Venters threw from the mound for the first time on Thursday May 9, but had to cut short the session after only tossing ten pitches.
“I was putting something on it, for sure,” Venters explained. “Ball’s still coming out [of his hand] decent, just didn’t feel very good. So we’ll see.”
Venters was able to get through his 15-pitch throwing session the following day, although he still complained of tenderness in that injured elbow.
“It felt about the same [as Thursday],” he said of his second throwing session. “I was trying to get on it a little more to test it. It feels strong. So we’ll see. See how it feels tomorrow. Take it day-by-day for now.”