hangoverBJ Upton, who is sidelined with a sore ankle, is not ready to call it a season, saying he wants to return in the final weeks. That’s nice, but what caught our attention was Upton speaking to the press about his shoulder and how it was never 100% this season following off-season surgery and how that explains his poor performance this year.

[Upton] believes his difficulties at the plate are tied directly to his return from [shoulder] surgery, which sidelined him into spring training and kept him on the disabled list for the first week of the season…”It was just kind of, all right, go rehab and if you’re ready to play, you’re ready to play,” Upton said. “I never had time to really work and get the repetitions.”…Even worse, the shoulder remains an issue even now, something in the background that he can’t quite seem to overcome…”It doesn’t hurt by any means, but it’s just not fully there, fully healthy,” he said. “It’s healthy enough to play, definitely. Sometimes it aches, sometimes it just feels tired – it’s never that consistency that I’m looking for.

One of our biggest concerns heading into the season was how Upton would adjust to life after shoulder surgery. Remember, this was not a one-time injury. Upton had injured his shoulder in the same manner (during a swing) each of the past six seasons. This just happened to be the first time the injury required surgery. Upton either needed to change his swing and risk losing his amazing bat speed or keep his swing the same and risk reinjuring the shoulder.

On the surface, it appears as though Upton has not changed his swing. And one has to wonder if that has hindered his recovery from surgery. Either way, this at least provides hope that their is a better Bossman Junior on the horizon for 2010.

Tampa Bay Rays’ B.J. Upton aggravates ankle injury in return to lineup [St. Pete Times]
Despite ankle, Upton still wants to play this year [Tampa Tribune]

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6 Comments

  1. Gus, a casual fan says:

    Upton's bat disappearing for 2 years makes you think it is really killing him and this isn't some excuse after the fact. I almost think the Rays had him play through it becuase it kills his arb. #s, but even those guys wouldn't be that cyncial, would they?

    All of this makes the insistence on leading him off for 2/3rds of the season more perplexing. Take a guy who has never led off, throw him at the top of the order, and have him get 600 ABs while rehabbing a bad shoulder. Great plan.

    You have to assume he took a cortizone shot or something for the 2008 playoffs, because that hitter is nothing like the hitter we've seen before (in 2008) or since.

    He 's a vexing cat. His brother is a space cadet also. Not sure what to do with him, but I'm pretty sure batting him lead-off before some dramatic improvement should never happen. And who knows if he'll ever come back. I know one thing for sure: If 2009 Upton shows up in 2010, he needs to be sitting behind Jennings and Joyce.

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  2. RZ says:

    Sounds like a severe timing problem in his swing.
    “I never had time to really work and get the repetitions.”

    Did the Rays rush him some from the shoulder surgery? Maybe the lack of a real spring training hurt for a couple of months then a hot June is when he finally got the timing together. Then a cool second half from a stretch of bad mental timing.

    The shoulder might also have contributed to that mental lapse as well.

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  3. KillaTapes says:

    I feel for the guy really. No matter what the cause or what he's felt, he's had a terrible season when expectations were the highest they've ever been for this team. People call him lackadaisical and indifferent and blame him for a lot of the Rays inability to make the playoffs, but you know he has to be feeling really bad about the way things have happened this season. I'm really hoping he has a good, mind-clearing off season and is able to get back to the form we know he can be.

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  4. Don says:

    My first reaction is that it is blowing smoke at the media..."I'm really a good player but my shoulder hurt all season".....bullshit!
    But if there is any possibility that it could be true...and Maddon knew it...
    and how could he not know just watching him swing....and he made us (fans) and worse, the other player live with that BJ leadoff stuff....He ought to be fired or demoted to bench coach...a job he is best suited for!

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  5. leningan says:

    perhaps maddon knew the shoulder was ailing and couldn't expect any power, thus leaving him in leadoff was a good option due to his speed and patience (albeit, sometimes because of his shoulder). Did JoeMa hope BJ would relent and become a slap hitter in the mode of Jeter? perhaps we'll find out in maddon's offseason thriller, "Gee Whiz, guys! this managing stuff is tough"....

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    • Gus, a casual fan says:

      He only became patient after he was hurting in 2008. Never seen so many called third strikes. Maybe it hurt too much too swing. Never knew we had Pete Gray leading off for the Rays. Great.

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