Melvin Upton started the 2016 season on a tear in San Diego. Prior to the All-Star break, the 11-year veteran slashed .262/.311/.454 with 16 home runs, 44 RBI and scored 45 runs over 324 at-bats. Shortly thereafter, he was traded to Toronto and his production took a nosedive. He hit just .190 with four home runs and posted a 33.3 percent strikeout rate in 168 at-bats for the Jays, including a paltry .146 average in the campaign's final month, his worst mark for any month of the year. Upton displayed terrible plate discipline in 2016 as a whole. His 67.9 percent contact rate was the third-lowest in all of MLB, and his 6.9 percent walk rate was a career low. Toronto's outfield lacks depth, and Jose Bautista may be plying his trade elsewhere in 2017, which leaves Upton with more than a good chance to lock down a spot in the team's outfield. An everyday job over a full season in the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre would provide a slight boost to Upton's value in 2017.
Upton (shoulder) will man left field and bat in the leadoff spot in Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Orioles, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports. Upton has been sidelined for a little over a week with right shoulder soreness, but after taking batting practice Saturday without any complications, he's been cleared to return to action and doesn't appear to be at any risk of missing the start of the season. The 32-year-old is likely slated to occupy the smaller portion of a platoon in left field this season, presumably with Ezequiel Carrera.
Upton (shoulder) took batting practice Saturday and is expected to return to game action Sunday, Mike Wilner of Sportsnet reports. Upton has missed the last week with soreness, but continually suggested it wasn't anything serious. The Blue Jays have exercised caution with bringing him back into action and it appears he'll be ready to go for Opening Day. The veteran outfielder will enter his second season in Toronto looking to build upon a rough 2016 campaign in which he hit just .196 over 57 games for the Jays.
Upton (shoulder) did not play in Friday's spring training game against the Red Sox, Mike Wilner of Sportsnet reports. Upton's shoulder soreness has kept him out for close to one week at this point, and while manager John Gibbons suggested earlier in the week that the veteran outfield would be back soon, he's still not quite ready for game action. Still, Upton will likely be able to get back in the lineup for a couple of tuneups before the season officially gets underway on April 3. Upton's next chance to return will come Saturday against the Yankees.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons expects Upton (shoulder) to return within a few days, Sportsnet.ca reports. Gibbons said the injury is nothing more than general soreness, which aligns with earlier reports. Upton has been held out of Grapefruit League action since he was scratched from Saturday's lineup, but there's been no suggestion he's in danger of missing Opening Day. The bigger concern is that Upton could share playing time in left field with Ezequiel Carrera (thigh) and Steve Pearce.
Upton was scratched from Saturday's lineup due to right shoulder soreness, Toronto play-by-play announcer Mike Wilner reports. Darrell Ceciliani will take over in right field Saturday with Upton's removal from the lineup. Fortunately, Upton told Wilner that he doesn't believe his shoulder soreness will be a long-term issue. Upton's next chance to return to the lineup will come Sunday against the Pirates.