Upton likely to play in Class A on Monday
Right fielder tests strained oblique by working out, taking BP
PHILADELPHIA -- D-backs right fielder Justin Upton, on the disabled list since Aug. 6 with a strained right oblique, will likely begin a rehab assignment with Class A Visalia on Monday.
"Visalia happens to be in San Jose when we're in San Francisco," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch told reporters on Thursday. "So if you wanted to speculate, that would be a brilliant move on your part."
Upton -- who was hitting .301 with 20 homers and 66 RBIs when he got hurt trying to steal second on Aug. 5 vs. the Pirates -- took live batting practice for the first time Wednesday. One day later, he was ready for a near-complete pregame routine: Upton ran the bases, performed defensive drills in the outfield and was slated for on-field BP on Thursday.
He could be physically ready for Minor League action before Monday. But because the D-backs are in the midst of a four-city road trip, and because they would like to bring Upton back west with them, the 21-year-old will likely have to bide his time until Major and Minor League schedules overlap.
Hinch may get a firsthand look at his recovering star's debut. The D-backs have an off-day on Monday before their three-game set with the Giants, and regardless of Upton's progression, Hinch had planned to watch his affiliate.
By suiting up for the Rawhide, Upton could see several at-bats as designated hitter. Hinch said that is not necessarily the plan.
"The defense and baserunning, I believe, is the hurdle -- him being able to break both ways, as opposed to just the rotational drills," Hinch said. "So we could DH him the first or second day, or the third day -- they play three games there. It is a possibility."
Young playing well: Outfielder Chris Young, whose season-long slump earned him a demotion to Triple-A Reno last week, is hitting .320 (8-for-25) with one home run, two doubles and four RBIs in his first six games for the Aces.
"I think it's the reason why we found it necessary for him to go to Triple-A and find some success, and do it in an environment that's less critical, I guess, not with the pressure of the big leagues on top of his shoulders," Hinch said. "It's just been a breath of fresh air for him. And the reality of some small tweaks in his approach and in his swing seems to be beneficial for him."
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.