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D-backs offense struggling without Justin Upton

Justin Upton will not be in manager Kirk Gibson’s lineup
for the fourth consecutive game Friday when the D-backs
host the Atlanta Braves, and his absence hurts even more
now that outfielder Chris Young is on the disabled list.

Upton’s been out do to a thumb injury that occurred during
the team’s opening-weekend series with the Giants, and he
has not started a game since April 16 in Colorado.

The right fielder recently took in a few batting practices
and is labeled day-to-day, but manager Kirk Gibson has
stated there is no rush to get him back as a full recovery
is the main concern.

“He’s looking to try and get back as soon as he can. We’re
going to have to be patient with him,” Gibson said
Thursday. “We don’t want to put him on the DL.”

However, having Upton out of the lineup has put a strain
on the D-backs’ offense.

Arizona has scored only seven runs in three games without
Upton, homering just once. The team has combined to hit
just .229, so it should little surprise that run
production has suffered.

The D-backs averaged 4.8 runs and 8.1 hits per game with
Upton in the lineup, but have been plating just 2.3 runs
on 6 hits per game without him.

Arizona has lost three straight without Upton which hasn’t
happened since September 16-18. Two of those losses came
from a series with the 5-7 Pittsburgh Pirates, and the D-
backs were also blown out 10-2 against the Atlanta Braves
on Thursday.

In other words, they’ve been struggling of late.

While Upton has started the season hitting just .212 and
has yet to homer, it appears losing the 2011 Silver
Slugger — along with Chris Young, of course — has been a
real issue for the D-backs offense.