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Justin Upton makes 2019 debut, homers on first pitch he sees

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The Angels activated outfielder Justin Upton from the 60-day injured list on Monday, as the outfielder missed the first two and a half months due to a sprained toe. Manager Brad Ausmus slotted him in the cleanup spot behind Shohei Ohtani. Upton needed to see just one pitch to make his impact felt.

Leading off the second inning, Upton swung at a first-pitch fastball from Blue Jays starter Edwin Jackson, belting it out to left field to tie the game at 1-1. It would kickstart a seven-run outburst.

In his next at-bat later that inning, Upton singled to chase Jackson from the game.

Upton, 31, put up a solid .257/.344/.463 triple-slash line last season along with 30 home runs and 85 RBI in 613 plate appearances. He has three years and $72 million remaining on his contract after the 2019 campaign.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.