Upton to Start in RF Friday
Justin Upton (AP/John Miller)
Senior Editor
Posted Aug 3, 2007


Justin Upton made his major league debut as a defensive replacement on Thursday, but his immediate future with the Arizona Diamondbacks is as the starting right fielder.

INSIDE PITCH

The "Man-Child" is here.

After placing right fielder Carlos Quentin on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, the Diamondbacks did what many in the baseball world have been waiting for and promoted top prospect Justin Upton.

The 19-year-old outfielder, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, made his major league debut Thursday in San Diego. After entering as a defensive replacement in right field in the eighth inning, he finished 0-for-1 in Arizona's 11-0 loss to the Padres.

Manager Bob Melvin is expected to start Upton in right Friday when the Diamondbacks open a three-game series at Dodger Stadium, and Upton figures to be the everyday starter at the position for the foreseeable future.

"It's what I've been dreaming about my whole entire life," said Upton, who hit a combined .319 with 18 home runs in 345 at-bats split between Class A Visalia and Class AA Mobile.

Melvin and others have referred to Upton as a "man-child" for his physical maturity and baseball savvy despite his age, and Upton said back in spring training that it was one of his goals to get to the majors before he turned 20.

"They feel like I'm ready, and I'm going to take it in stride," he said.

PADRES 11, DIAMONDBACKS 0: San Diego avoided a three-game sweep by Arizona in convincing fashion Thursday, as Jake Peavy limited the Diamondbacks to three hits over seven innings, and Morgan Ensberg added a pair of two-run homers in his Padres debut. Diamondbacks starter Yusmeiro Petit allowed five runs and five hits through 4 1/3 innings.

Peavy had brought a 5.20 ERA versus Arizona through 19 starts into the game.  His seven shutout innings dropped that career mark to 4.90.

NOTES, QUOTES

--RF Carlos Quentin suffered a pulled hamstring Wednesday in San Diego while running out a double, and he was placed on the disabled list, the latest in a series if setbacks that have plagued the prospect this season. He was diagnosed with a slight labrum tear in spring training and missed substantial time. Upon struggling through the first half of the season, he was demoted to Class AAA Tucson until only recently being recalled.

"He's gotten some big hits for us this year," general manager Josh Byrnes said, "but since he tweaked his shoulder this spring, it seems like luck has not gone his way."

--The Diamondbacks have lost seven of nine games to the Dodgers, whom they play in Los Angeles on Friday for the start of a pivotal three-game series.

"It's the one team that's pretty much handed it to us every time," Melvin said. "It's a good team. They match up well against us, they play well against us. We need to go in there and kind of change the mind-set."

--RHP Brandon Webb is scheduled to oppose Dodgers RHP Brad Penny on Sunday in a matchup of National League All-Stars.

--General manager Josh Byrnes on the decision to promote top outfield prospect Justin Upton from Class AA Mobile: "In the last 45 days, we've had a lot of people in Mobile seeing that team, and there was a pretty strong consensus that Justin is major league ready if we wanted to put him up here."

--CF Chris Young has been successful on 16 of 17 stolen-base attempts this season. His 94.1 percent success rate ranks second in the National League.



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