Found May 14, 2013 on
Justin Upton had a huge night in his return to Arizona with the Atlanta Braves.
Making his first trip to Chase Field as a visiting player, Upton homered and had four hits in Atlanta's 10-1 victory over the Diamondbacks on Monday night.
Before the first pitch, he said his goal was to treat it like any other game. Turned out, it wasn't.
This three-game series against Arizona, the team that traded him away, will be different, to be sure, but it's not going to define his season.
''It's a long season. It's a marathon and you have to put up numbers over a long period of time,'' Upton said. ''This three-game series is very small on the scale of how your season is going to turn out, so I don't see that as any type of motivation. I motivate myself either way. When you're on the field and competing, it doesn't matter where you're playing.''
Upton hit his major league-leading 13th homer of the season in the sixth inning, snapping a 14-game power drought. He came into the game leading the National League in home runs.
The slugger received a few more cheers than boos his first time up, but there wasn't much of a reaction from the crowd before he grounded out.
An outfielder, Upton was drafted by Arizona with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 amateur draft and made a quick rise through the Diamondbacks' system.
He played 43 games after being called up in 2007, when the Diamondbacks went to the playoffs, and was a two-time All-Star in six seasons with Arizona.
Upton had his best season in 2011, finishing fourth in NL MVP voting after hitting 31 homers with 88 RBIs while leading Arizona to the NL West title and earning a Silver Slugger Award.
But over the course of his final two seasons in the desert, he was the constant focus of trade speculation. The Diamondbacks weren't openly trying to get rid of their best player, but acknowledged they were listening to offers.
Arizona tried to trade Upton to Seattle this past offseason, but he vetoed the deal.
Not long after, the 25-year-old was shipped to Atlanta in a seven-player deal that sent third baseman Martin Prado to Arizona and put Upton on the same team as his brother, B.J.
Even though the possibility of a trade was apparent, it caught Upton off guard when it actually happened.
''It's a different feeling when you get traded, but you've got to take it in stride,'' Upton said. ''From my perspective, the organization was going a different direction and I wasn't a part of that. In turn, they got players that they needed to fill their holes and that's part of the game.''
Despite the ongoing trade saga, Upton left Arizona saying all the right things, having no animosity for the only team he had known.
He did the same thing before the series opener against his former team, and the Diamondbacks had nothing but good things to say about their former star.
''He was a young ballplayer when he came up in 2007, we went to the playoffs that year and I've got nothing but good memories of him,'' Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. ''I respect J-Up and he knows that. We just moved forward and have to stay focused on tonight's game. They're a first-place team and that's where we want to be.''
Though he hasn't spent much time in Atlanta because of the Braves' road-heavy opening schedule, Upton has enjoyed the move so far. He's been able to see a lot more of his brother and had a great start to the season, hitting six homers in his first seven games.
Strange as it may have been to enter the visiting clubhouse in Arizona for the first time, Upton was excited to be back in an area where he still has a home.
''I'm happy to be back here,'' Upton said. ''I played, obviously, the first few years of my career here. I'm just excited to be back. It's a great opportunity to play against old teammates, get a chance to sleep in my own bed, which is fun, and just be back here in the Valley. I'd just like to thank the D-backs for the opportunity to start my career here.''
BEST OF MAXIM
Justin Upton felt a little strange entering the visitors' clubhouse at Chase Field.
That didn't dampen his excitement about returning to the place where he spent the first six seasons of his big league career.
Upton returned to Arizona with Atlanta on Monday night for the first time since the Diamondbacks traded him to the Braves.
A two-time All-Star, Upton was one of...
ATLANTA There have been and will be signs in the Chase Field bleachers this week professing the Diamondbacks fans miss Justin Upton in their own team's uniform, but it's hard to imagine they wanted to see the 25-year-old slugger play quite so well in his homecoming.
Upton, who went 4-for-5 with one home run in Game 1 of his return series, has immediately become the star...
Justin Upton snapped a 14-game homerless drought and had four hits to help the Atlanta Braves rout the Diamondbacks 10-1 on Monday night in his return to Arizona.
Upton, the first overall pick by Arizona in the 2005 amateur draft, was playing his first game at Chase Field since the offseason trade that sent him and third baseman Chris Johnson to Atlanta in a seven-player deal.
Video: Hit my bro and i'll hit a HR
Justin Upton played his first game at Chase Field last night as a visitor. His new team (the Braves) smashed his old team (the Diamondbacks) 10-1. More telling was Upton's stat line: 4/5 with two runs, two RBI, a double, and a homer. Chris Johnson, who came to Atlanta with Upton in this winter's trade, went 3/4 with three RBI,, a double, and a homer. But it's not all...
Atlanta has gone through a terrible stretch of baseball having lost 4 of their last 6 games on the road. With just 3 more games on the road before a travel day and a return to Turner Field for a 6-game home stand, the Braves need to salvage as many of the the remaining 3 road games as possible. Taking 2 of the 3 games in Arizona would give the Braves a winning percentage for the...
Justin Upton won the NL Player of the Month in April
With the Braves playing the Diamondbacks in a three game series starting tonight, there are inevitable discussions and assessments about the trade that brought Justin Upton and Chris Johnson to Atlanta, and sent Martin Prado and prospects, to Arizona.
Braves manager, Fredi Gonzalez, isn’t in the business of publicly assessing...
Here are three things we learned from the Braves' 10-1 road rout of the Diamondbacks, otherwise known as Justin Upton's successful Arizona homecoming:
1. So much for debating the pratfalls of Upton returning to the desert so early in the season
Upton (one triple shy of the cycle on Monday) must have been focused like a laser for this one, racking up two runs, two RBI and...
PHOENIX -- Kirk Gibson and Justin Upton used to run into each other before every Diamondbacks game. Literally run into each other. Bolo each other was what Gibson called it. Those who said the two did not get along did not see that.
Their meeting was less physical Monday, when Upton returned to Chase Field for the first time since the January seven-player trade that remade both...
After calling Chase Field home for his first six major league seasons, Justin Upton is set to play his first game there as a visitor Monday night.
Upton will try to help the Atlanta Braves break out against the Arizona Diamondbacks - his former team - in a matchup of two slumping offenses.
The No. 1 overall pick by the Diamondbacks in 2005, Upton drove in 67 runs in 150 games in...
Justin Upton put on quite a show in his return to Phoenix.
Upton snapped a 14-game homerless drought and had four hits to help the Braves snap a three-game losing streak.
''It was the Justin show,'' Braves third baseman Chris Johnson said with a smile.
Upton, the first overall pick by Arizona in the 2005 amateur draft, was playing his first game at Chase Field...
A pretty great day for home runs, all things told. Let's get right down to the trots.
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Home Run of the Day: Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves - 19.6 seconds [video]
I for one am shocked to learn that Justin Upton hit the ball a really, really long way while playing a game in Chase Field. Shocked.
If it weren't for Justin Upton...
The Braves look to break their 3-game losing streak tonight
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez puts another interesting line-up out there tonight against the Diamondbacks. Most notable is that the .153 hitting B.J. Upton will bat second and the .307 hitting Chris Johnson will bat eighth.
This will be the fifth time this season that B.J. Upton has batted second.
At first glance it...
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, looking to get more life into a line-up that has scored only three runs the past two games against the Giants, has shaken things up.
Here’s today’s batting order against the Giants:
1. RF: Jordan Schafer
2. SS: Ramiro Pena
3. C: Brian McCann
4. LF: Justin Upton
5. 1B: Freddie Freeman
6. 2B: Dan Uggla
7. CF: B.J. Upton
8. 3B: Juan Francisco