Per MLB.com, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Justin Upton will miss the rest of the season due to a right lumbar strain. The diagnosis sent Upton to the 10-day Injury list at the beginning of the month, but the injury has not progressed enough for the veteran to return.
The diagnosis sent J-Up to the 10 day IL at the beginning of the month but the injury hasn't progressed enough for the vet to return. pic.twitter.com/ZrCv87RR7o
— Brandon L. Carr (@Carrpediem21) September 21, 2021
When the team initially placed him on the IL earlier this month, Angels manager Joe Madden said he did not anticipate Upton returning during the last leg of the season as the team was already out of playoff contention.
Madden told OCRegister.com, “I like the guy a lot. He has leadership qualities among the group. He really does, and I would like to believe that there is more of what we saw when he was really hot. He carried us for about a month.”
Upton rode the wave of his 2020 finale at the start of the year as he hit .320 with an on-base plus slug of 1.020 throughout a 25-game span.
The numbers spike came at the hands of Madden shuffling the lineup to have Upton bat leadoff from early April to late May.
This was around the time his back discomfort started taking shape, which led to his extended stint on the IL.
Numerous injuries caused the 34-year-old to come up short for the third consecutive season for the Angels; Two of which were due to back injuries, as mentioned earlier.
He finished the year averaging .211 with an on-base plus slugging percentage of .705, 41 RBI, and 17 home runs in 89 games.
Although he finished the pandemic shortened season on fire, J-Up struggled so much in the earlier parts of the season that his performance relegated him to pine; And the 2019 season resembled 2021 as he missed most of the year due to a plethora of injuries.
Upton is a career .262 hitter throughout numerous stops around the league with the Arizona Diamondback, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, and Angels with 1,000 RBI and 324 homers in 1,828 games.
With high praise from his manager to the organization’s respect and being a leader for his peers, Upton will be roaming the grass in the city of angels if he has the willpower to overcome the injury kryptonite.
But if this is the end of an illustrious career, well, let’s say it’s been a heck of a ride.