So far, so good for Justin Upton.
The underachieving right fielder made his return to the lineup during last weekend’s series against Oakland, batting 4 for 11 and adding three runs in the D-backs sweep of the A’s.
Manager Kirk Gibson benched Upton for the final two games in the Colorado series.
Gibby explained his sitting of the slumping superstar to Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo on Tuesday as “a manager’s decision.”
“I could tell [the slump] was getting to him. You try everything to get him back to who he’s capable of being and many guys that have high expectations like Upton are going to fight it. They’re not going to want to sit and they want to work their way through it.
“It wasn’t a punishment thing. Clear your head a little bit, take some pressure off you and let’s count on your teammates.”
It seems Gibby knows best. The D-backs were victorious in the three games Upton didn’t play, outscoring opponents 20-3 and hitting five home runs.
And Upton? He knew he wasn’t going to be benched forever. Gibson told the outfielder before the weekend series he would play Friday, to which he responded in the affirmative.
“He caught some breaks, had some big hits and played with more energy,” Gibson said.
“He had a good weekend for us.”
As the D-backs hit the road for a six game stretch against American League powerhouses Texas and the Los Angeles Angels, Gibson is confident that Upton will stay out of the slump.
“He’s feeling much better about himself and the team feels good about themselves as well. The win streak helps everybody.”