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Kendrick: Upton's return next year 'highly likely'

Kendrick: Upton's return next year 'highly likely'

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Kendrick: Upton's return next year 'highly likely'
PHOENIX -- D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick said it was highly likely that outfielder Justin Upton will be back with the team next year.

Appearing on the Burns and Gambo Show on KTAR (620 AM) on Wednesday, Kendrick was asked if Upton would be traded during the offseason.

"Here's a guy that even in a down year, he scored more runs than anybody in the National League," Kendrick said on the show. "He makes our team go, and so I would think it's highly likely we'll see Justin Upton in a Diamondback uniform next year."

Since being drafted No. 1 overall in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Upton was looked at as a franchise player. But when Kevin Towers took over as general manager in September 2010, he created a stir when he said during the GM Meetings that year that he was open to trading Upton.

No deal materialized and Upton finished fourth in the National League MVP voting in 2011, so it seemed the trade talk was a thing of the past.

However, before this year's July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Towers acknowledged that he was once again listening to offers for Upton. Towers said it has long been his policy to listen to offers on any of his players and that it did not mean he was looking to deal Upton.

"It's Kevin's nature, and I support this very much, that you just flat don't say no, ever, to any opportunity," Kendrick said on KTAR. "Are we going to go out and 'shop' Justin Upton? I think not."

As part of the interview, Kendrick was asked about pitching prospect Trevor Bauer.

Bauer was the team's first pick (third overall) in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He has a unique pregame routine, throwing program and philosophy of pitching.

At various points this year when Bauer was in the Minor Leagues the D-backs talked about wanting him to manage a game better, and that intensified when he struggled in four big league starts and seemed to be at odds with veteran catcher Miguel Montero.

Kendrick seemed to indicate that Bauer, who was named the organization's Pitcher of the Year for his work in the Minors, will need to make changes if he hopes to be back in the Majors with the D-backs.

"I will say this: he is the employee, and in an employer/employee situation it's incumbent on the employee to make adjustments to satisfy the needs of his employer," Kendrick said on KTAR. "And I hope and trust that that will occur. I think we all need to grow up and mature and learn from our elders and hopefully Trevor will recognize the need to do that to become an outstanding Major League player. The talent is there, I think there's no doubt of that."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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