The day is finally here.
Justin Upton has returned to Chase Field to face his former team for the first time since being traded to the Atlanta Braves during the offseason. The move sent Upton and infielder Chris Johnson to Atlanta in exchange for veteran Martin Prado and four minor leaguers.
Much has been made about the move throughout the spring and the first 38 games of the season. That could be because Upton got off to a white-hot start being named NL Player of the Month for April, batting .302 with 12 home runs and 18 RBI in his first 23 games. On the other hand, Prado is batting .233 with four homers and just nine RBI through 39 games.
Monday before the game against the Braves, Prado insisted he isn’t trying to be Upton and he never will be.
“I’m not going to be able, and I’m being honest, I’m just being realistic, I’m not going to be able to do whatever he does because we’re just two different kinds of players,” he said. “What people don’t see is that he brings something different to the table than I actually do for the team. I’m not going to just compare myself with him; it’s just not going to happen.”
Everybody wants to talk about who won and who lost in the deal. It’s a hot topic on radio talk shows, on TV and on the internet.
The 29-year-old Prado knows that he may not have the offensive skill set Upton possesses, but is confident in his abilities and feels he makes this team better in other ways.
“What I can do is, maybe I’m not hitting well, I’m not getting results but what else can I bring to the table. What can I do? I can play defense. You ask me to play another position, I’ll play another position,” Prado said. “If you want me to be a good teammate, I’ll be a good teammate. You need advice, whatever, from anybody here? I’ll be here.”
Prado’s ability to be a good teammate and his character in the clubhouse is something his manager Kirk Gibson has raved about.
Prado feels this clubhouse is full of guys that are more like him.
“I feel like as a player, you’ll be able to do good and be a good teammate, that’s easy. When you’re doing great, you can be the best guy and the best person ever,” he said. “What can you bring to the table when you’re not doing well and make the difference?”