Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton struggled through a good portion of the team's 2012 season, and a large part of those struggles might have been due to an injured thumb that plagued the 25-year-old for much of the season, according to Jack Magruder of Fox Sports Arizona.
Upton, who injured his left thumb sliding into second base in the third game of the season, was apparently advised by team doctors to take a stint on the disabled list, but the outfielder refused. D'Backs outfielder Chris Young had been placed on the disabled list a day or two prior, and Upton didn't want to leave the club's outfield down a couple of starters.
Upton's numbers tell the tale of a man playing at 70-to-80-percent in 2012. In 2011 -- while healthy -- he hit 31 home runs, drove in 88 and batted .289 for a D'Backs team that went 94-68 and won the NL West. Playing with a brace on his injured thumb until mid-August, the outfielder hit 17 home runs, 67 RBI and batted .280 in 2012. The 2012 numbers would be much worse is weren't for a late season statistical spike that occurred when he removed the brace for the final six weeks of the season and hit 8 home runs with 18 RBI.
Upton told Fox Sports Arizona he had to grind it out:
"It's something I had to live with. I feel like I gave everything I had this season. I can go home with my head high. If I'm not 100 percent but I can play, I'm going to play."
Now Upton, who is no stranger to trade rumors, faces offseason uncertainty as the D'Backs are likely to trade some of the club's outfield depth to address other areas of need.