PITTSBURGH -- All-Star Justin Upton was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday by the Arizona Diamondbacks with a right oblique strain, cutting at least two weeks out of what has been a breakthrough season for the talented young outfielder.
Upton, who will turn 22 later this month, has been showing signs in his third major league season of becoming the star he was forecast to be when he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft.
But Upton pulled up attempting to steal a base during the eighth inning of Arizona's 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday night. In obvious pain and holding his side, he was removed from the game.
"The-best case scenario is probably 10-14 days, and it doesn't make sense to go without a player for 10-14 days, so we put him on the disabled list and hope for a speedy recovery," Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch said.
Upton is batting .301 with 20 home runs and 66 RBIs in 103 games. He missed 43 games last season with an oblique strain on the left side.
Arizona purchased the contract of outfielder Trent Oeltjen to take Upton's place on the roster.
Oeltjen, 26, was to make his major league debut Thursday batting seventh and in left field. A member of the 2004 silver medalist Australian Olympic baseball team, Oeltjen was in his ninth minor league season. He spent seven years in the Minnesota Twins system before being signed as a minor league free agent by the Diamondbacks prior to last season.
"It's something I've dreamed of my whole life. I spent nine years in the minors, so it's a spacial thing to finally make it to major leagues," Oeltjen said. "I've been so close but never in the right position, and here I am now today. I'm glad I stuck it out."
Oeltjen can play all three outfield spots but Hinch said he will use him mostly on the corners. He was batting .301 with 20 home runs and 66 RBIs in 103 games for Triple-A Reno.
"It's a great story," Hinch said. "He's a good baseball player. He has a gamer-type mentality. He does everything pretty well and has a good all-around game. A little power, a little speed."
In other news, second baseman Ryan Roberts left the team to be with his wife, who was due to give birth to the couple's first child Thursday.
Hinch said, barring any complications, Roberts would rejoin the team in Washington over the weekend. Augie Ojeda started at second base Thursday.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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