The Atlanta Braves officially introduced Justin Upton at a press conference at Turner Field Tuesday afternoon. Upton brings loads of power and potential to an already deep Braves lineup but also the intriguing storyline of playing beside his brother, B.J. The opportunity to play with your brother at the professional level is incredibly rare and something Justin is ready for.
“It’s a special day, a special day for me and my family to get the opportunity to see me and my brother on the same field. I’m excited to be here.”
With his brother in attendance, Justin made sure to let everyone know there would be friendly competition between him and B.J.
“We’re going to butt heads a little bit. That’s going to be the fun part. We grew up in the same house, we’re going to be in the same clubhouse now, so we’re going to butt heads again at this level. It’ll be fun. There will be a certain fire.”
Just two months after introducing B.J., general manager Frank Wren spoke about the timetable for acquiring Justin. He was on the Braves radar even before the addition of B.J. but picked up more steam over the past few weeks. Part of the intrigue of the trade to Wren was the opportunity to have arguably the most athletic outfield in baseball with the Upton brothers and Jason Heyward.
“We think it really improves what we’ve been looking to do over the last few years, get younger, more athletic and have that kind of offense that can be explosive.”
Having three outfielders who are all capable of playing center field is rare, but will require some concessions – most likely with Justin making the move to left field. While Justin hasn’t played the position throughout his time in the majors or minors, he feels that he can handle the position change.
“I think it’s going to be a pretty smooth transition. Obviously, it’s a change. So it’s going to take a little time. But I think I can get used to it.”
Switching positions was the least of his worries on a day he was officially introduced as an Atlanta Brave to play beside his older brother. And as Justin succinctly put it, it’s something that just doesn’t happen in sports.
“I didn’t think it would happen this year. You don’t get that lucky.”