Towers, Gibson hope Upton can keep his cool

Aug 31, 2011, 2:40 AM | Updated: 4:03 am

PHOENIX – Arizona Diamondbacks star outfielder Justin Upton has been hit 15 times this season prompting people to wonder why doesn’t he charge the mound and send a message.

It’s not so easy when your team is in the middle of a pennant race and charging the mound would cost Upton a definite suspension by MLB.

“It’s a fine line. You can’t afford to lose players when you’re in a pennant race, but you have to protect your players,” said D-backs general manager Kevin Towers on Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf on Tuesday.

Towers admitted the team has retaliated at times this season with Arizona pitchers hitting other teams’ players after Upton has been plunked.

“You do what you have to do to protect your players. You try to use good judgment. Paybacks can be tough,” said Towers.

Manager Kirk Gibson is hoping Upton doesn’t let his temper get the best of him.

“We have a lot at stake. You have to keep that in mind sometimes when maybe you want to let your temper get the best of you and respond in a certain fashion,” said Gibson.

The D-backs manager can certainly understand his star player’s frustration though from being hit so many times this season.

“He doesn’t like it. If it keeps happening at some point, if it was me, I can’t guarantee what I would do,” said Gibson.

Times have changed in MLB from the days where players charging the mound was a common occurrence.

“In today’s game, it’s hard to remedy these things like maybe we should. I just hope that he doesn’t have an injury,” said Gibson.

If Upton is able to continue to put the team first by not retaliating during the pennant race, then it will speak volumes to how much he has matured as a player and leader on the team.

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Towers, Gibson hope Upton can keep his cool