Justin Upton
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Justin Upton sidelined 8-12 weeks with injured toe


Angels corner outfielder Justin Upton is slated to miss 8-12 weeks with a turf toe injury, manager Brad Ausmus announced Friday. It’s been a rough spring for the veteran outfielder, who was limited to just five games in spring training after spraining his toe and suffering an extended bout of tendonitis in his right knee. Ausmus didn’t elaborate on the nature of the injury, but said the decision had been reached following further evaluation of the situation.

Upton, 31, completed his first full-season run with the Angels in 2018. He batted a robust .257/.344/.463 with 30 home runs, an .808 OPS, and 3.1 fWAR across 613 plate appearances. This is the first significant setback he’s seen in quite some time, as he managed to remain fairly healthy last year despite losing some time to the IL with a concussion and a troublesome finger laceration (the direct result of cleaning a wine glass).

While Upton’s bat will undoubtedly be missed in the lineup, the Angels aren’t exactly hurting for outfield depth at the moment. Peter Bourjos and Kole Calhoun have the outfield corners locked down for the time being, with recent waiver claim Brian Goodwin playing backup in left field as Upton works toward a full recovery. According to comments from GM Billy Eppler on Friday, the club is not prepared to bring in additional reinforcements as they look to bolster their outfield configuration, perhaps in the hopes that Bourjos and Goodwin will step up at the plate in Upton’s absence.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.