Angels’ Justin Upton diagnosed with patellar tendinitis, will miss rest of season

Angels' Justin Upton hits a home run in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 6.
(Getty Images)

Justin Upton’s season is over, the Angels announced Friday night.

The left fielder will receive a platelet-rich plasma injection next week to address patellar tendinitis in his right knee. He is expected to make a full recovery within six weeks.

The remedy put an end to a turbulent season for the 13-year veteran.


Upton was plagued by injury at the beginning of the year, and the early layoff took a toll on his offensive production. In 63 games, he batted .215 with 12 home runs and a .724 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. Upton missed the first 72 games of the season recovering from a severe toe sprain he sustained during the exhibition Freeway Series in March. That came after his spring training debut was delayed because of tendinitis in his right knee.

Upton, who signed a five-year, $106-million contract before the 2018 season, hit .177 with two doubles and three home runs in his final 18 games. Except for a 10-game stretch in mid-August when he went 10 for 32 with a 1.113 OPS, the 32-year-old hasn’t been close to matching his career averages in multiple offensive categories.

Andrew Heaney struggles, making a quick exit in the Angels’ 11-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani did not play because of injury.

“In a sense, it’s been a lost season from an injury perspective,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He never really got rolling, and then another injury. I think he’s really looking forward to an offseason where he can get going.”

Upton was not available for comment after the Angels lost 11-4 to the Tampa Bay Rays at Angel Stadium. When he last spoke to reporters after an MRI on Wednesday, he was frustrated that another injury jeopardized his campaign. He had never spent so much time on the injured list.

Ausmus, who managed Upton in Detroit from 2016 to ’17, remains confident the outfielder can return to his previous form. Upton will have a fairly normal offseason once he recovers from the injection. That opportunity eluded him last offseason because of the same knee issue that hampered him in spring training.

“The big things is he can get a full offseason of training and be full-go when we get to [spring training] in 2020,” Ausmus said. “That’s the important part.”

In the meantime, the Angels also will have to make do without Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani had season-ending knee surgery Friday to repair a congenital knee condition.

Mike Trout may at times also be out of the lineup as he continues to grapple with nerve irritation in his right foot.

“Those are some big guys who are a huge part of this team that we are without,” said outfielder Kole Calhoun, one of three Angels with more than 20 homers this year. “It’s going to take some guys stepping up.

“To lose Upton, [Ohtani], Trout, you feel it each night you’re out there. We need some guys to step up, and some guys are going to get an opportunity to show what they can do.”