PHOENIX — Silly Putty therapy worked for family friend and New York Mets third baseman David Wright, so Justin Upton is giving it a try to facilitate his return from a bruised left thumb.
Wright rolled a blob of the pink stuff between his fingers during pregame work Saturday to gain flexibility in his fractured right pinkie, and something worked — he played that night after expressing doubts the day before.
If the goo fits . . .
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“We incorporate everything,” said Upton, the Diamondbacks’ right fielder. “We are trying a lot of things to get flexibility back and some of the soreness out. I’m doing whatever I can.
“He (Wright) is back and swinging the bat well right now. Obviously you look for any shortcuts you can.”
The Uptons and Wrights go back a long way. The families grew up in the Norfolk, Va., area and spent a lot of time together. Rays outfielder B.J. Upton played with Wright on traveling youth teams, and Justin played on teams with Wright’s younger brothers.
Upton was held out of the D-backs’ starting lineup for the fourth straight game Friday as he recovers from the bone bruise suffered April 8. Fluid was drained Tuesday afternoon, and he has not taken batting practice since.
“The goal is to get the fluid out and let it heal up. I’ve rested it since,” Upton said.
“It’s coming along. It’s better than it was a week ago. Putty is more of a strength and flexibility thing. It’s standard treatment. So we’re kind of at that point now where they are ready for me to start using that and try to get flexibility and strength back in it.”
The D-backs are still attempting to determine whether to put Upton on the disabled list, although he is able to play defense and was used as a pinch runner Wednesday. The decision is more difficult because center fielder Chris Young suffered a cartilage tear in his right shoulder Tuesday and was placed on the disabled list. The D-backs would rather not be without two of their most productive hitters for an extended period.
“We’re still in a holding pattern,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “If it gives us a better chance to win the game (Friday), he is going in.”
Upton gets an immediate update on his condition every morning.
“I can tell when I wake up in the morning whether I can swing or not. I don’t have to go test it. It’s still sore. It’s nagging me,” Upton said.