04/10/2013 7:09 PM ET
B.J. Upton remains upbeat during slow start
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
MIAMI -- B.J. Upton's first eight games with the Braves have not gone exactly how he envisioned when he signed a five-year, $75.25 million contract in November, a franchise record. But the veteran outfielder has remained cool and collected with the realization that there is plenty of time for him to live up to his tremendous potential.
"I feel fine," Upton said. "It's just not happening right now. But that's the beauty of a 162-game season. We're nine games in, and there is entirely too much baseball to be played to read too much into it."
There was also nothing to read into the fact that Upton was not in the lineup for Wednesday night's series finale against the Marlins. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez opted to rest the veteran center fielder to provide Jordan Schafer his first start of the season. Schafer had been the only position player from the Opening Day roster to not make a start in the first seven games.
Upton, who has hit .103 (3-for-29) with a .212 on-base percentage through eight games, had been scheduled to rest during Sunday's series finale against the Cubs. But Gonzalez altered that plan when Freddie Freeman was placed on the disabled list that day with a strained right oblique muscle.
Upton went hitless in his first 16 at-bats of the season and then went 3-for-6 with a home run in the final two games of this past weekend's series against the Cubs. But his struggles resumed as he went hitless in nine at-bats during the first two games of this week's series against the Marlins.
"I do feel good up there," Upton said. "I'm seeing the ball well. Pitch selection is a little off for me right now. I'll say inconsistent. But it's getting better. I feel good up there. That's all that matters. I'll start hitting the ball here pretty soon. I'd rather it be now than in August or September."
• Brian McCann's arm strength has improved over the course of the past week, and he is now playing long toss from a distance of 180 feet. McCann, who is recovering from right shoulder surgery, is limited to serving as a designated hitter in extended spring training games until at least Tuesday. At that point, he could be cleared to begin playing defensively at the catcher's position.
• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kris Medlen is undefeated as a starting pitcher in games that he has been given a lead (16-0 with 11 no-decisions). He has earned a victory in each of the past 11 games the Braves have given him a multiple-run lead.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.