The Tampa Bay Rays announced Wednesday that CF B.J. Upton will start the season on the Disabled List with soreness in his lower back.
Upton is still recovering from a March 14th collision with fellow Rays OF Desmond Jennings. Upton has managed just one minor league appearance since the collision. He attempted to give it a go Wednesday, but was still experiencing discomfort.
Said Upton: “The thing is they want to get it under control and make sure it’s perfectly fine and then I can get out there and play. When I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go. Would I love to be there? Yeah. But if this is going to help me over the long term this is what we’ve got to do.”
The DL stint seems like more of a precautionary move and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. The Rays are saying Upton should be back by mid-April.
Upton may be rusty when coming back after missing about a month (assuming he comes back mid-April). The missed time can be concerning because he’s such a streaky player and it may take some time to get his timing down.
Upton’s slow recovery hurts even more with left fielder Sam Fuld likely to need surgery on his wrist. Fuld is meeting with a wrist specialist in Cleveland on Monday and seems to be on track to have surgery Tuesday.
According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, “utilityman Elliot Johnson is expected to fill one of the spots. The other could go to one of nonroster candidates Jesus Feliciano, Jeff Salazar or Will Rhymes; prospect Brandon Guyer; or a late-spring acquisition.”
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