video thumbnail

J. Upton continues to go deep for the Braves in '13

Justin Upton is on his way back to Arizona.

The outfielder, traded by the D-backs to the Braves this offseason after nearly two years of trade rumors, returns to Chase Field on Monday for the first time as a visitor when the D-backs and Braves begin a three-game series.

"I think it's going to be cool," Upton said earlier this week. "I'm going to spend a few days in my own house, sleep in my own bed and play in surroundings that I'm used to. My five years there were fun. I had a blast playing there and being a part of those winning teams. A lot of friendships and relationships that I had in Arizona, they were great and I enjoyed my time there."

Upton's time in Arizona was full of highs, lows and, in the end, near-endless speculation and rumors regarding where he might end up and why an organization would trade a player of his caliber. He was finally dealt in January along with third baseman Chris Johnson for Martin Prado, right-hander Randall Delgado and three Minor Leaguers.

Thus far, the trade has worked out well for both teams. The Braves and Upton -- the Major League leader with 12 homers -- are atop the National League East. The D-backs are second in the NL West.

And D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he and his squad are well aware of Upton's numbers this season.

"We've been watching, but we watch all the teams prior to them coming here," Gibson said. "We're not treating it any different, I'm sure you guys will, though. We have to deal with him wherever he is in the lineup and try to get him out. He's moved on, we've moved on. We're trying to beat his butt."

Before that, though, there is sure to be some reminiscing.

"I'm looking forward to seeing those guys and competing against them," Upton said.

The same goes for the Braves.

"It's going to be fun seeing Prado and [D-backs free-agent acquisition Eric] Hinske," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "They are about as good of teammates you could ever ask for. We're all looking forward to the series."

Braves: Minor on mound
Left-hander Mike Minor gets the start in Monday's opener in search of his fifth win of the season. He tossed seven innings of one-run ball his last time out against the Reds, striking out seven.

His lone career start against the D-backs came in April last year at Chase Field, when he allowed two runs (one earned) in eight innings while striking out nine.

D-backs: Miley rebounding
Right-hander Wade Miley looks to turn in another strong outing Monday after tossing 7 2/3 innings last time out against the Dodgers. Miley, 26, struggled in his prior two starts, allowing four runs on nine hits on May 3 and walking seven in 4 1/3 innings on April 27.

Miley's lone career start against the Braves was his Major League debut on Aug. 20, 2011, in Atlanta.

Worth noting
• Sunday was Braves center fielder B.J. Upton's 1,000th career game.

• Johnson is hitless in his last 18 at-bats. Comments