What's The Deal With Melvin Upton Jr.?

Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)


I know I touched on this over the weekend with the Kelly Johnson piece, but since Saturday, not much in terms of updates has been released regarding Melvin Upton Jr. and his sore shoulder. To give a real quick refresher, recall Mike Wilner tweeted out the following on Saturday, 3/18 - 

Things that make you go "hmmm..."

Again, we don't know the severity of Upton's injury, so stating that it's serious would be rash. BUT! What I can do is present evidence that maybe this injury is a bit more severe than the Jays, as well as Upton, would like to let on. The most damning evidence supporting this is, since being a late scratch from the Spring Training outing on Saturday, Upton has yet to make an appearance in any of the games that followed, including today's. Here are the lineups, just for clarity (Photos taken from the Blue Jays Twitter account).

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

MONDAY

TUESDAY (TODAY)

(I gave you pictures, so it must be true!)

But seriously, what's the deal? 

What makes me curious over this whole thing is shortly after Upton was a late scratch on Saturday, for something he said wasn't long-term, this tweet from MLB Trade Rumors popped up - 

The relationship gap between the injury and the "seeking" may be shortening.

I mean, for quite some time now we've been hearing that the Jays were relatively alright with the notion of moving forward with the Upton/Carrera platoon in left-field, even if the situation isn't ideal. Moreover, Gibbons has said straight-up that these two would be battling for the starting spot in left, going so far as stating that if Upton wants it bad enough, it's within his control to attain the spot. To boot - 

“I can tell you this, if he’s playing really good, he’ll be out there a lot [...] He can control that. We’ll see. We’ll get the guy who's playing the best out there.”

OK, so if there's a good ol' competition in left, along with maybe also having Pearce thrown in the mix, why the sudden urge to seek additional outfield help? What's changed?

Sure, you could argue that the brass finally realized that left-field is the team's most glaring hole and ought to be addressed as soon as possible. But why now? It's not like this position wasn't a giant-ass question mark since the end of last season for the Jays; they knew what they had then - or rather, what they didn't have. It doesn't take a baseball genius to see that, when the off-season began and money could begin to be allocated, left-field, right-field, back-up catcher, the bullpen, and first base would need to be addressed. Every position, more or less, has been addressed, with the exception of left-field. It just seems strange to me that, all of a sudden, now they're seeking additional outfield assistance? I dunno, man. On the one hand, you can suggest that maybe the "seeking additional outfield help" thing and the tight-lipping of this sore shoulder Upton has are most certainly related. But, when you combine the big-ass question mark that the Jays already had in left-field with this injury - however severe it actually is - I would certainly hope they'd be seeking additional outfield help! Hell, even if there wasn't an injury, they should be looking for help! Which is the "on the other hand" part of this. Maybe the Jays have been seeking outfield help for quite some time now, only for it now to be reported. That's certainly possible (and, let's face it, probable).

But look, I'm willing to concede to the notion that this injury is probably relatively minor. In all likelihood, it's probably a matter of rest and laying off of it for a few days; or maybe even a week. With the Jays dealing with other injury concerns - some more minor than others - they probably don't want to take their chances with this - especially to one of the players at their biggest concern in terms of field-positioning. Also especially, they probably don't want to exacerbate the throwing arm of one of their outfielders, at all. This may very well be the case because... I mean, it makes total sense. However, it's definitely something that's starting to become a bit more noticeable with every Spring Training game Upton misses, at least to me. I'll be the first to admit that I tend to make a big deal out of things, so I'm tempering all of this speculation. I'm not saying Melvin Upton Jr. is severely injured!. I'm just saying keep an eye on it. That's all.

Ya know... just something to keep in the back of your mind.

Watch him be in the lineup tomorrow.


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