B.J. Upton remains upbeat during slow start

B.J. Upton remains upbeat during slow start

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."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.