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Justin Upton not close to returning from shoulder injury

Sep 20, 2010, 3:15 PM EDT

Justin Upton missed two weeks with a sore shoulder, rejoined the lineup for three games, and is now sidelined again by the same injury. He’s missed five straight starts and interim manager Kirk Gibson indicated that Upton is not close to returning:

We’re not going to play him at this point. We’re going to make sure that he’s strong and right before we throw him back out there and have him get back to where he is or worse. He’s played 132 games this year and we want him to play more games than that. It gets more into, how do we keep him healthy? This has happened three years in a row. We’ve got to do some things differently, and a lot of that is up to him.

Upton is available to pinch-run and in fact came off the bench to steal a base Friday night, but we’re at the point in the season where non-contending teams pushing star players to come back from injuries just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

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