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Upon return, B.J.'s main focus is contributing

Upon return, B.J.'s main focus is contributing

PHILADELPHIA -- As B.J. Upton spent the past few days completing a brief rehab stint with Triple-A Gwinnett, he watched his Braves teammates extend their recent offensive surge and was excited about proving he has made the adjustments necessary to become a productive piece of this potent offense.

Upton's spirit was bright after the Braves activated him from the disabled list and put him back in their lineup for Saturday afternoon's game against the Phillies. Though he posted a .177 batting average and .565 OPS through his first 84 games, Upton can now make every attempt to live up to expectations over the remainder of the season.

"At this point, the numbers don't matter," Upton said. "We're in a pretty good position right now and our goal is to make it to the postseason. From here on out, anything I can do to make us better and help us get there and help us keep winning ballgames is what I'm going to do. That's the main focus. The numbers mean nothing."

Despite the fact that his club had totaled 46 runs over the previous five games, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he did not hesitate to put Upton back in lineup with the hope that the outfielder would start living up to the potential the organization envisioned when it signed him to a five-year, $75.25 million contract in November.

While playing three games with Gwinnett, Upton did not experience any problems with the right adductor muscle that he strained on July 12. In addition, he took advantage of the opportunity to work with Braves veteran hitting guru Lee Elia, who was Upton's hitting coach when he made his Major League debut with the Rays in 2004.

"He just kind of put some things in my mind that I used to do," Upton said. "That's pretty much what we worked on the past three days. I picked up on it fairly quickly. I think [Elia] and [Braves hitting coach Greg Walker] are on the same page. It was just some things that I had really gotten away from. I think the fact that I was able to really drive the ball the other way. ... That is something that I've been trying to do all year."

Cognizant of the fact that he has been too "pull happy" this year, Upton was encouraged with the way he drove the ball toward the right-center-field gap during his stint with Gwinnett.

"Early in my career, I hit the ball the other way so well that I had to learn how to pull," Upton said. "I think over the years, I learned how to pull and lost what got me there. So hopefully now that I've learned how to pull and I'm starting to hit the ball the other way, it can only get better for me."

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

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