Angels left fielder Justin Upton has missed the first two-plus months of the season because of a toe injury, but he’s now closing in on his 2019 debut. Upton will begin a rehab assignment Friday at the Single-A level, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports. Barring any setbacks during his rehab, Upton will rejoin the Angels within 20 days.
The 31-year-old Upton’s long absence will deprive him of an opportunity to post a fourth straight 30-home run season. Upton swatted exactly 30 in 2018, his first full season with the Angels, after sticking with the team on a five-year, $106MM contract. Overall, Upton slashed .257/.344/.463 (124 wRC+) in 613 plate appearances, continuing a career-long trend of above-average offensive production. He also totaled at least 3.0 fWAR for the seventh time since 2008, his first full season in the majors.
Upton’s loss looked disastrous for the Angels when it happened, though they’ve stayed afloat in left field without him. Brian Goodwin, whom the Angels claimed off waivers in late March, has combined with David Fletcher and Cesar Puello to give the Halos enough offense at the position. Goodwin’s numbers have plummeted of late, though, so Upton’s return should be a timely one for an LA club whose wild-card hopes are still alive.