The Angels placed outfielder Justin Upton on the 10-day injured list today, per Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter). Upton’s been suffering from a sore back. To claim Upton’s roster spot, Kean Wong was recalled from Triple-A.
The Angels felt the sting of Upton’s absence today via some defensive miscues in the outfield as some players were forced to play out of position, notes Fletcher. Upton isn’t necessarily renowned as a defensive maven in left field, but he at least has plenty of experience playing the position. Taylor Ward was tasked with manning left field today, and in a classic Maddonian bit of maneuvering, starting pitcher Griffin Canning took on the defensive challenge late in Wednesday’s contest.
Beyond the defensive question, Upton’s bat will certainly be missed — he’s been on fire in June. Upton has a 199 wRC+ with a .338/.463/.531 slash line in 80 plate appearances this month. The hot streak has largely coincided with Upton taking over the leadoff spot in manager Joe Maddon’s lineup. Luis Rengifo has been given a few opportunities in that spot since Upton went down, while Shohei Ohtani took on the challenge in tonight’s game.
It doesn’t help that the Angels are already without outfielders Mike Trout and Dexter Fowler. In Trout’s case, there’s still no timetable for this return, per Fletcher. He has yet to resume any kind of baseball activities, suggesting the Angels will need to find a way to forge ahead without him for the time being.
Wong, 26, has hit .184/.205/.289 in 42 plate appearances with the Angels this season. He’s been significantly better in Triple-A, where he owns a .350/.388/.525 line in 85 trips to the plate.