Montero: Unhappy Upton needed change of scenery

Miguel Montero believes trade rumors took toll on Upton's happiness, productivity in Arizona.

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero is hardly surprised that Justin Upton broke loose with a 12-home run April in his new Atlanta home. He has seen Upton flex before.

That doesn't mean Upton would have done the same had he stayed in Sedona red, Montero said.

“We all know he is capable of that,'' said Montero, who played with Upton from 2007 to 2012. "The big question mark: Do you think he would be doing the same here? I don’t know. I don’t think so, because I don’t think he was happy anymore.

“I know he loves the game, but I don’t think he was happy anymore. If he is not happy here, why keep a guy if he does not want to be here?”

Upton was sent to Atlanta with Chris Johnson in a seven-player deal that brought Martin Prado and four prospects on Jan. 24. Upton had been mentioned in trade talks the past three years, and Montero saw it take a toll.

“All the trade rumors, I think that gets to the player," Montero said. "If the guy says he is not paying attention, I think that is bull crap. We all paid attention. We all heard about it. It was in his mind a little bit."

Upton finished April two short of the major league record  for home runs in the month, set by Albert Pujols in 2006 and tied by Alex Rodriguez the following season. He hit 17 home runs in the entire 2012 season for the Diamondbacks, playing in 150 games while battling through an early season wrist injury.

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