Arizona Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick had some interesting comments about Justin Upton in the radio interview he did that also called out shortstop Stephen Drew. He called Upton an "enigma" and suggested that he should be playing more consistently at age 24.
Kirk Gibson also said in a radio interview that Upton might sit three to five days to try to get him going again.
He was not in the lineup in the 10-0 win the D-backs had over the Colorado Rockies and might not be playing on Wednesday.
When asked about the owner's comment, Upton didn't have much to say. "That's his opinion. To be honest, I don't have a comment. He's going to say what he needs to say."
He said that he was "absolutely" upset about not being in the lineup on Tuesday. "I want to be on the field every single day," he said. "But at the same time, none of you are all blind. Parra deserves to play, so whatever they need to do, they do."
As for playing tomorrow, Upton expressed what was the most interesting comment of the night. "It's hard to expect anything around here," he said. "I'm going to come in tomorrow and wait until the lineup pops on the screen just like everybody else."
Before the game, Gibson suggested that he hope that Upton wouldn't do any work, as he had been doing a ton of working and grinding and taking swings trying to get right.
He didn't seem to agree that it was the best way to do things. "I thought today was pretty unproductive," he responded. "I sat here and really didn't do much, and I'm still pissed off about the way I'm playing, and not playing, so I don't know if it was productive or not."
He understands that he is not playing well right now and that Gerardo Parra is (Parra had four hits on Tuesday). Fellow outfielders Jason Kubel and Chris Young each had multiple hits in the game as well. "I'm not playing well, Parra's playing well," Upton explained. "He deserves to play and I'm not holding my weight right now."
Many believe that Gibson is about to lose Upton and that he could become a cancer in the locker room. The comment about not being able to expect things "around here," though, was more about someone whose pride is hurt.
Could he become a problem? Perhaps. But there are a couple of things that will solve this. One is winning and the other is his coming out of his slump.
This will only become worse if he is either playing poorly or not playing AND the team is struggling.
While his body language on Tuesday wasn't great, it isn't that big a thing...yet. He is struggling and that upsets him because he wants to succeed and always has his entire life in baseball. He is working hard and not getting results -- that is frustrating. He wanted to play and didn't -- that is upsetting (even when he understand why). He was approached about criticism by his boss -- which is never good to hear.
These things are normal.
How does he respond now? Does he still support his teammates? Will he find ways to contribute? Or does he become aloof and more upset?
It is too early to say that this is an issue. he does need to be more consistent. The team is counting on him in the lineup, fair or not.
But, thus far, while this has raised concerns, it is a case of someone that is just frustrated and isn't quite sure what to do because he has been trying everything he knows.
We will see what happens in the days to come -- whether he even plays and, if he does, how he performs.
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