Justin Upton will make his season debut on Monday when the Angels open a series in Toronto against the Blue Jays, Angels manager Brad Ausmus told Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group (Twitter links) and other reporters.
Upton has missed the entire year recovering from turf toe, but will be activated off the injured list tomorrow and is set to take his usual spot in left field. There isn’t necessarily a great way for the Angels to ease Upton back in terms of a positional role, as giving him DH at-bats would mean that Shohei Ohtani would have to sit, though Upton has been regularly working in left field during his rehab assignment and seems ready to go.
Unexpectedly strong contributions from Brian Goodwin, Cesar Puello, and utilityman David Fletcher helped the Angels generate some solid offense from the left field spot even without Upton. He isn’t the only star who could be on his way back to Anaheim, as Ausmus also said that shortstop Andrelton Simmons (out since May 20 with a left ankle sprain) could potentially rejoin the club during its road trip through Toronto and St. Louis.
The returns of Upton and Simmons will only help an Angels lineup that has quietly been very productive this season. The Halos have received surprise breakouts from Fletcher, Goodwin, and Tommy La Stella, Kole Calhoun is enjoying a comeback year, Ohtani is beginning to heat up after his own extended IL absence, Albert Pujols is showing some of his old power, and (of course) Mike Trout is his usual superb self.
Despite this offensive pop, however, Los Angeles is still only 35-36 on the season thanks to a subpar pitching staff. The Halos sit 3.5 games out of a wild card spot entering Sunday’s action, and it remains to be seen if the club will look to add some arms before the trade deadline in the name of a postseason push.