Angels outfielder Justin Upton to open season on injured list

Justin Upton didn't see much action in spring training, and now he'll open the season on the injured list.
Justin Upton didn’t see much action in spring training, and now he’ll open the season on the injured list.
(Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

What seemed like a minor collision with an outfield wall in Anaheim on Sunday night will rob the Angels of their left fielder and No. 3 batter for at least the first week or two of the regular season, which starts Thursday in Oakland.

Justin Upton has been diagnosed with turf toe, suffered when he hyper-extended his left big toe while chasing Max Muncy’s double into the left-field corner in the first inning of the Freeway Series opener against the Dodgers. Upton was pulled from the game, and he felt so much discomfort Monday that he was sent for an MRI.

The 31-year-old slugger was fitted with a walking boot and will open the season on the 10-day injured list, but it can take up to three weeks for the joint capsule in the toe to heal.

“It’s actually an injury you see a little more with offensive linemen and defensive linemen in the NFL,” general manager Billy Eppler said. “It’s caused when you’re essentially in a loaded position and you’re pushing and you kind of get pushed backwards, and your toe hyper-extends.


“He was using his foot as a braking mechanism, and his toe hit the wall. We’re still gathering all of the imaging and getting it looked at by a bunch of experts. We can’t talk about a timeline, but he will start the year on the IL.”

Upton, who hit .257 with an .808 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 30 home runs and 85 RBIs last season, battled right-knee tendinitis all spring and did not make his Cactus League debut until March 19. He has one hit in seven at-bats in five spring games.

With Upton out, speedy veteran Peter Bourjos, who signed a minor-league deal in November with an eye toward earning a reserve outfield spot, likely will open the season in left field.

Bourjos, who was added to the 40-man roster after Tuesday night’s exhibition finale against the Dodgers, hit .283 (15 for 53) with an .897 OPS, three homers, three doubles and 10 RBIs in 20 spring games.


The Angels reassigned first baseman Matt Thaiss, who had three hits including two doubles on Tuesday night, infielder Wilfredo Tovar and catcher Roberto Pena to minor league camp. … Ausmus said Shohei Ohtani, who is recovering from elbow surgery, will take batting practice outside “very soon.”