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Kirk Gibson Downplays Justin Upton's Postgame Comments, Explains Joe Saunders' Rehab Outing

Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton made some waves with his postgame comments on Wednesday, saying that he doesn't care what the fans think. Prior to Thursday's series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers, manager Kirk Gibson gave his thoughts on the subject, very much downplaying what his young player said.

"I didn't read it that way," said Gibby, referring to whether Upton really doesn't care about fans. "I think what he was saying was that he goes out and he knows he prepares and he's doing everything he can.

"It's all how you take the context of any quote. Obviously he cares. If he didn't, he wouldn't be out there right now."

He also took a small jab at the fans for booing. He recognizes why they do it, but asked, "Would booing in any way, shape or form motivate somebody or help somebody? The reality of it is, and we all know why they do it. J-up cares about everything he does here. Trust me."

At the same time, Gibson noted how large crowd was, with more than 48,000 in attendance. "It seemed like it was way worse," he said.

I don't see this as spin. It is abrupt when a player says something like that. But Upton is saying that he knows how hard he is trying, so it doesn't matter what fans say. He's doing all he can and is playing for his teammates and coaches, the guys that are rooting for him.

If the fans were supporting him, he would sound different. He is saying that it doesn't matter if they boo -- it won't change his approach.

Gibson also spoke about Joe Saunders, who, despite his personal desires, will make a rehab start on Sunday night at 7 PM at Salt River Fields. He explained why it is happening.

"It's very noble to think that he could sit out three weeks virtually, throw one time off the mound 51 pitches in a simulated game and go out and be ready to throw 110 pitches," explained Gibson. "It is of our opinion and that's everybody that's not smart.

"We just think it's smarter for Joe Saunders to go get up to 80-90 pitches and then get into 100-105 pitches the next game, then build up his arm strength to get where he was."

It does make sense. Saunders needs to get his strength up and it is the safe thing to do. Plus, it allows the team to give Trevor Bauer at least one more look before the All-Star Break and then the break for the team to decide on how the rotation will work out for the second half of the season.

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