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Upton plans to return Sunday

Upton plans to return Sunday

ST. PETERSBURG -- Assuming all goes well with Saturday's workout, B.J Upton is expected to rejoin the Rays lineup on Sunday.

However, where the outfielder -- who has had a strained left quadriceps since Sept. 8 -- will start remains to be seen.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he liked the "giddy-up" in Upton's session running on Tropicana Field's turf prior to Friday's game, and anticipated -- if he received a positive report on Saturday -- that Upton would be in the field on Sunday afternoon.

"Really, he has to be honest with me," Maddon said of his pending talk with Upton. "If he feels like he can cover all that [in center field], fine. If he needs a little break in regard to coverage, we will put him on the corner."

Since the injury occurred -- during the first inning of a Sept. 8 game at Fenway Park -- the Rays have slotted recent callup Fernando Perez in center field.

Easing Upton into the right-field corner, and later switching him with Perez, would boost a Rays outfield that has been without the services of speedy left fielder Carl Crawford (surgery on his right middle finger tendon) since Aug. 9.

Upton entered Saturday's game as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning, grounding into a double play. The good news for the Rays was the 24-year-old stayed in the game, in center field, meaning his legs are nearly back to full-throttle.

Upton is the Rays' leader in stolen bases (42) and outfield assists (11), and at the time of the injury, was hitting .274 with a .382 on-base percentage.

Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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