6/6/2014 8:10 P.M. ET
J-Up more relaxed in second trip back to Chase Field
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Braves left fielder Justin Upton returned to the scene of some of his greatest ballgames on Friday night as his club opened a three-game series against the D-back at Chase Field.
Upton, the former D-backs right fielder, returned to spend the weekend in his newly completed home in nearby Scottsdale and see some of his old friends in the other clubhouse. The team, though, has undergone a vast turnover since Upton was traded to Atlanta in a six-player deal on Jan. 24, 2013.
He was a top D-backs pick, first overall, in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft and played his first six seasons in Arizona.
"This is very cool," Upton said before the game. "I get to see some of the guys I played with and play in a stadium I'm obviously comfortable playing in. Obviously there are a few different faces, but there still are a few guys who are good to see. But that's the game of baseball. It seems like so long ago already. I've played a full season over here and we're almost halfway through this one.
"It's obviously a different feeling. Over here, it's nice. We have a good clubhouse, a lot of good guys. We're playing good baseball."
Since National League East teams usually only play in Arizona once a year, this is only the second time Upton has played here since the big trade that sent him and Chris Johnson to Atlanta in exchange for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado and a pair of Minor Leaguers on Jan. 24, 2013.
In his first game back on May 13, 2013, Upton went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer, scored twice and drove in two runs. The Braves won, 10-1. He's a .308 lifetime hitter with 68 homers and 221 RBIs at Chase Field.
Upton has been on a tear of late, hitting .345 (20-for-58) in his last 15 games. But his home-road splits this year are astounding. He's hitting .380 with 10 homers and 26 RBIs in 31 games at Turner Field and .194 with three homers and seven RBIs in 24 games on the road. Perhaps that will all change this weekend at Chase Field.
"I hope so," Upton said.
B.J. Upton scratched from lineup due to travel delays
PHOENIX -- B.J. Upton was scratched from Friday night's Braves lineup for the first game of a three-game series against the D-backs at Chase Field.
The Atlanta outfielder was a late arrival after the birth of his second child, a daughter named Myla, on Thursday in Tampa. He was in the original lineup, but replaced in center field by Jordan Schafer.
"His plane was a little late," Braves manager Freddy Gonzalez said before the game. "I think he was supposed to land at about 5:30 p.m., 5:45 or something. That's if everything goes well. The original flight was supposed to get him in a lot earlier. Now, who knows when he'll get here? So let Schafer handle it."
Upton, in his second year with the team after signing as a free agent, is batting .217 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 55 games.
His brother, Justin, said he's excited about having the new family member.
"Yeah, B.J. had a little baby girl," Justin Upton said. "With us being on the road, I probably won't be able to see her the whole month of June. But that will be cool when I do. I'll find a way to get there."
Gonzalez said he had to signal Schafer that he was in the starting lineup before doing any extra running out on the field.
"He was out there in the outfield sitting by the pool and I whistled to him, 'You're in,'" Gonzalez said. "He was getting ready to do some extra running stuff and I didn't want him to do that."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.