The San Diego Padres are coming to Atlanta on Monday, and they’ll be bringing Melvin Upton Jr. with them.
The team announced Sunday that they’ll activate Upton from the disabled list for the start of the series against the Braves – a decision that will almost certainly pay off for the Padres in a huge way.
Because seemingly everyone who struggled in Atlanta returns to town as a rejuvenated ballplayer.
Take Dan Uggla, for example. After a forgettable three years in a Braves uniform, Uggla returned earlier this year as a member of the Washington Nationals. Despite likely being the very last player on the roster at that time, the Nats were gracious enough to throw him out there and let him come up huge in a pinch-hitting situation that killed the Braves and pestered their fans further.
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There’s also Jeff Francoeur, who is now a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. He played two games against the Braves back in May and was 5-for-6 with a double, triple and 3 RBI at Turner Field. He was a beloved player – more than Uggla, for sure – during his tenure with the Braves, so fans were even more confused and didn’t know how to respond to Francoeur’s carnage.
It was a little like watching a young nephew tear apart your living room; you just smile while quietly muttering, “What the hell is he doing? Is anybody going to stop this?” through your teeth.
But that’s one of the most frustrating things about Atlanta’s sports teams. Not only do hyped players tend to underperform when they play for the home team, but once they leave town to play for someone else, they almost always return to inflict more pain on Atlanta fans.
So now, it’s Upton who has the chance to turn the knife in Atlanta fans’ backs.
During a 13-game rehab stint with the El Paso Chihuahuas, Upton batted .280 with a home run, six RBI and 12 strikeouts in 50 at-bats, MLB.com reported. He’ll finally join his brother, Justin, with the Padres after a long recovery from a foot injury that happened during Braves Spring Training.
Soon, we’ll find out if Upton will be joining the likes of Uggla and Francoeur as yet another former Brave to burn the home team’s fans right in front of their faces.
On the bright side, when Upton inevitably beats the Braves at some point this week, at least we won’t be paying him to do it.
Photo: Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports