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J-Up helps facilitate reunion with CY

Former D-backs teammates back together with Angels
MLB.com @mi_guardado

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Justin Upton has emerged as the chief recruiter of the Angels' offseason.

Upton, who helped convince Ian Kinsler to waive his partial no-trade clause and accept a trade to Anaheim, also influenced outfielder Chris Young's decision to sign a one-year, $2 million deal with the Angels on Sunday.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Justin Upton has emerged as the chief recruiter of the Angels' offseason.

Upton, who helped convince Ian Kinsler to waive his partial no-trade clause and accept a trade to Anaheim, also influenced outfielder Chris Young's decision to sign a one-year, $2 million deal with the Angels on Sunday.

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"I worked out with him all offseason, so bouncing it off of him, how he felt about the organization, he had nothing but great things to say," Young said Monday. "He loved the organization. He loved his time here last year, and then he re-signed here, so I knew he would be here."

Young and Upton were teammates for seven years with the D-backs, and the two lived together when Upton was first called up to the Majors in 2007.

"I played with J-Up when he was 18, 19 years old," Young said. "He lived with me when he first came up, and we've been close ever since. It's been nice to see it come full circle and have the opportunity to play together again."

Young is now in line to serve as a backup to Upton and the rest of the Angels' starting outfielders this season. The 34-year-old veteran batted .235 with a .709 OPS, seven home runs and 25 RBIs in 90 games with the Red Sox in 2017 and has been particularly effective against left-handed pitchers over his career, logging an .827 OPS.

The Ohtani brief

Shohei Ohtani participated in pitchers' fielding practice, threw a light bullpen and took batting practice with the Angels outfielders on Monday.

Ohtani is still working on getting a feel for his breaking ball, but he said that he's been pleased with his overall progress so far.

"Some of the balls were in the dirt, but it was good because I kept the ball down," Ohtani said via interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. "I'm not too worried about that. I feel like my bullpens are getting better each time. I feel like I'm right on track."

Ohtani is expected to hit against live pitching on either Tuesday or Wednesday. Many of his teammates continue to be impressed by what they've seen from the 23-year-old two-way standout.

"His power is impressive," Kole Calhoun said. "He's a big dude. He's tall. He's got some leverage. He's got a great swing. You keep learning each other and see where it goes from here. I think right now he's just trying to get acclimated. There's a lot of new faces, and there's a language barrier there, but for the most part, he seems open to it all and is trying to learn and fit in with his teammates. It's going to be a lot of fun."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels