After two games off and an off day on Thursday, rightfielder Justin Upton is back in the starting lineup and batting third for the Arizona Diamondbacks as they open a series against the Oakland Athletics. With a lefty on the mound, it was the right time to get him back into a game.
Kirk Gibson said, when asked about Upton, "He's had a couple of days off and hopefully he's refreshed."
"He looks good to me today," said Gibson. "He looks refreshed, recharged. We've won two games. We have another series to try and win."
How he performs will be what everyone is watching. Will he continue with his struggles or will he start to turn it around? He will be facing a pitcher in Tommy Milone that has a road ERA of over 6.00.
The game Friday night also reunites managers Kirk Gibson and Bob Melvin. When Melvin managed the D-backs, Gibson was his bench coach. The two are very close friends and Gibson said that has "immense respect" for Melvin. Reportedly, Gibson gave Melvin a ride to the ballpark.
Melvin manages "kind of like how he was as a player -- very smart, very heady, very consistent in his approach and his determination," said Gibson when asked to describe his friend and former colleague. "He wears a lot on the inside. You'd never know it. He taught me a tremendous amount, obviously."
You can see the influence that Melvin has had on Gibson as a manager. Aside from the gameday preparation and in-game things, Gibson learned his calm demeanor from Melvin.
"Regardless of what's going on as a manager, you can't get frustrated or get emotional," Gibby elaborated. "You're steering the ship. You've got to keep steering the ship and you can't let go of the wheel. Who knows where it's going there? Probably not where you want to be."
While most remember the fiery and emotional Kirk Gibson as a player, he maintains a very calm demeanor as a leader, which has been very good for his team as they experience the ups and downs of a long season.
Here are Friday's starting lineups:
- Jemile Weeks, 2B
- Coco Crisp, CF
- Josh Reddick, RF
- Seth Smith, LF
- Brandon Inge, 3B
- Brandon Moss, 1B
- Kurt Suzuki, C
- Cliff Pennington, SS
- Tommy Milone, P