Detroit — During Justin Upton's introductory press conference Wednesday, general manager Al Avila was asked, "Are you concerned about having such a heavy right-handed hitting lineup?"
Upton put his hand on Avila’s arm and said, “I’ll take this one.”
“That’s funny,” Upton said. “People on the outside look at a baseball game and say, this guy is right-handed, this guy is left-handed, and right-handers should hit off left-handers. A lot time it doesn’t matter what side they throw from.
“I don’t think Miguel Cabrera has any problem hitting right-handed pitching.”
No, and neither does Upton, who signed a six-year, $132.75 million deal with the Tigers Wednesday, or J.D. Martinez, who along with switch-hitting Victor Martinez will comprise the middle of the Tigers order.
“There is a certain point where talent takes over for the numbers that people like to look at,” said Upton. “This is a lineup that will produce against right-handed pitching.”
Upton last season hit .266 against right-handers, with a .848 OPS and 23 of his 26 home runs. His production against lefties — .191, .558, 3 home runs.
“Where is the left-handed version of Justin Upton,” Avila said. “That’s what you don’t understand. I’d rather have a good right-handed hitter hitting against a right-handed pitcher than a not-so-good left-handed hitter against a right-handed pitcher every time.
“We believe in this lineup.”
If Cameron Maybin starts in center field, the Tigers will start eight right-handed hitters and Victor Martinez.