Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B.J. Upton could make his first appearance of the season on Friday. Joe Maddon confirmed on Thursday that Upton will be brought off the disabled list for Friday's game against the Minnesota Twins. Upton suffered a back injury during spring training and started the season on the DL, but is finally ready to return, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
#Rays Maddon confirms Upton is set to come off DL for Friday's game. Also, they don't plan to reduce pitching staff to make room
The Rays also recently claimed Brandon Allen off waivers from the Oakland Athletics, and are expected to add both Allen and Upton to the roster ahead of Friday's game. If both are activated, two Rays will be sent down to Triple-A to make room.
In the aftermath of the collision, Upton has had ongoing issues with his back. Some days it's looser and he can play with it; other days it's tight and he can't do much. His back has not loosened up as much as the Rays had hoped, so they are retroactively placing him on the DL to start the season. Technically, he could return from the DL after only missing a handful of games, but the Rays have stated that there is no timetable for his return. Whenever his back is better, he will play.
In his place, the Rays are expected to promote rookie Brandon Guyer to fill in on the bench and in the outfield. The Rays do have other internal options as well -- including Jeff Salazar and Will Rhymes -- but Guyer offers the Rays the most upside and would be able to immediately help the team during their difficult opening stretch of games.