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B.J. Upton now targeting mid-April return from back injury

Apr 2, 2012, 10:15 AM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays v Oakland Athletics Getty Images

B.J. Upton will begin the season on the disabled list due to back soreness stemming from his March 14 collision with Desmond Jennings, but said yesterday that he’s “shooting for” returning during the Rays’ April 10-19 road trip.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Upton no longer feels sore the day after throwing and running, which the center fielder called “a good sign.”

However, according to Topkin because Upton has only played in one minor-league game since the collision three weeks ago he’ll need a significant number of at-bats before coming off the disabled list is an option.

Until then Jennings, who apparently got the better end of the collision, will take over as the Rays’ starting center fielder. Upton has played at least 144 games in each of the past four seasons.

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