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Upton out 8-12 weeks with toe injury

@RhettBollinger
March 29, 2019

OAKLAND -- The Angels were dealt a major blow on Friday, as left fielder Justin Upton will be out 8 to 12 weeks with left turf toe, general manager Billy Eppler and manager Brad Ausmus announced. The initial expectation was Upton would miss three weeks, but after further testing, it

OAKLAND -- The Angels were dealt a major blow on Friday, as left fielder Justin Upton will be out 8 to 12 weeks with left turf toe, general manager Billy Eppler and manager Brad Ausmus announced.

The initial expectation was Upton would miss three weeks, but after further testing, it was determined he'd be out longer than expected. The Angels didn’t get the final prognosis on Upton until after Thursday’s game. Upton suffered the injury while running into the left field wall at Angel Stadium in Sunday’s Freeway Series game against the Dodgers.

“It’s a sprain that has some significance to it,” Eppler said. “It’s going to require about 8 to 12 weeks. Everybody is different. Every human being is different. Everyone recovers differently -- 12 is on the more cautious side, eight is on the more aggressive side. We’ll ultimately see how Justin progresses week to week.”

The Angels claimed outfielder Brian Goodwin on waivers on Wednesday, and he will split time with Peter Bourjos in left until Upton returns. Eppler said he doesn’t anticipate going outside the organization to add another outfielder. The left-handed hitting Goodwin is more likely to see action against right-handers, while Bourjos will see a bulk of his time against left-handers.

"Can we withstand it? We have to," Ausmus said. "We don’t have a choice."

Upton will be in a walking boot for the next four weeks and was seen by three doctors, Dr. Steve Yoon, Dr. Kenneth Jung and Dr. Robert Anderson (who specializes in foot and ankle injuries). It’s a rare injury for a baseball player to suffer, Eppler said.

"It’s an injury that’s way more common in the NFL," Eppler said. "It’s suffered by offensive and defensive linemen a lot because they have their foot in that position.”

Complicating things is the Angels have several other injured outfielders, including Michael Hermosillo, who missed all of Spring Training after undergoing offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia. There’s no timetable for Hermosillo’s return, but Ausmus said it could come before Upton’s.

Jarrett Parker, who was signed to a Minor League deal, is also out with an oblique injury and isn’t expected to be ready to return until May. And while he wouldn’t have been considered an immediate replacement for Upton, top prospect Jo Adell is out seven to nine more weeks after sustaining a right ankle sprain and a left hamstring strain in early March.

Upton, 31, hit .257/.344/.463 with 30 homers, 18 doubles and 85 RBIs in 145 games last year, posting 3.8 Wins Above Replacement, which ranked third on the club among position players behind Mike Trout (10.2 WAR) and Andrelton Simmons (6.2), per Baseball-Reference.com.

“Losing a middle-of-the-order bat is always tough,” Eppler said. “It’s tough to absorb those things. We’re optimistic he’ll be back, and at some point Shohei [Ohtani] will be back, maybe before Justin. That will be another middle-of-the-order bat. There are still very good offensive players on this club. Yesterday we walked more than we stuck out, we hit the ball hard. Keep with that process and good things will happen.”

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.