"He kept saying he couldn't open his hand," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "The muscle of the forearm, he just kept putting the two middle fingers and clamping them and he couldn't open them, and it did that a couple of times in the dugout when he came in when [assistant athletic trainer Jim Lovell] was checking him, so we said forget it."
Upton appeared to be favoring his left arm during his first at-bat against Marlins starter Tom Koehler, stepping out of the batter's box on a 2-2 count to manually unclench the two middle fingers of his left hand with his right. He struck out to end the inning with a big swing on a 95-mph fastball, and he clenched his teeth in pain as he shook out his hand. He did not return to the field for the third inning, replaced by Reed Johnson in center field.
"I think it's just from the amount of hitting I did today and some of the drills that I do in the cage," Upton said. "Maybe overuse, so to speak. It didn't bother me all day."
"It just kind of cramped up and spasmed," Gonzalez said. "I've never seen anything like that with a hand. You see guys spasm with calves and legs and that kind of stuff. Our trainers brought him up here, and he didn't do it again. We'll keep an eye on it and see how he is tomorrow."
While Upton said he had experienced spasms of that nature before, the inability to open his fingers was a new sensation.
"It was like I could get it to calm down, but as soon as I went to grip the bat again, it's almost like my hand would lock up around the handle of the bat," Upton said. "It was different. I tried to grind it out, and once I got into the dugout, I kind of knew what it was, but at that point, you have make a decision whether to stay in or take me out of the game. Obviously, it's not something you want to risk, but having it happen to me in the past, I knew I'd be OK."
Should Upton be unable to start Wednesday's game, Johnson may be the Braves' only viable option to cover an open position in the outfield. Jordan Schafer saw action for the first time since fouling a ball of his ankle last Wednesday in Kansas City when he entered as a pinch-hitter in the sixth, but he still appeared hobbled by his injury as he ran out an infield single.
"I feel fine. I'm looking to play tomorrow, and if I can't, then that's just what it is," Upton said. "I'm almost 100 percent I'll be able to play tomorrow."