Justin Upton, the younger brother of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' B.J. Upton, was the No. 1 overall pick out of Great Bridge (Va.) High School in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. He signed with Arizona in January 2006 and spent last season with Single-A South Bend. Justin, who has switched from shortstop to outfield, was recalled by the D-backs on Aug. 2 and made his big-league debut later that night in San Diego. He recently answered some questions from MLBPLAYERS.com:
MLBPLAYERS.com: How did it feel to get your first two Major League hits last Saturday?
Upton: It was awesome. It was nice to get them out of the way and to be able to contribute and score some runs. This is my first time breaking in. Hopefully, I can quickly contribute some more.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Did you talk to your brother, B.J., after the game?
Upton: By the time I got back to the hotel after the game, it was real late where he was. I talked to him the next day, though.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Not only have you been called up to the Majors, but you are also on a first-place team. Does that make this extra special to you?
Upton: It's great to be involved in games when you are playing for something. It makes you want to play that much harder. It will be great if we can come out of this on top.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Describe the transition from shortstop to the outfield?
Upton: At first, it was tough. I went from short to center and only had about a week to prepare for it. That, for the most part, was the toughest. But once you get out there and get some reps under your belt, you're ready to deal with things. I've played in 100 some-odd games out there now, so that's helped me with my comfort level.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What about the transition from center field to left and right field?
Upton: Going from short to center was probably a little tougher than going from center to right or left field. The footwork is almost the same, like when you're going back for balls as an infielder, but you have a lot longer run and you have to read the ball from further away. Going from the infield to the outfield is definitely a bit tougher.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Are you surprised to be in the big leagues after starting the season at Single-A?
Upton: I wasn't really expecting anything in particular. You have things in the back of your mind, but right now, I feel like the club has confidence in me to play at this level. It's on me to go out on the field and play hard.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Did it surprise you that you didn't play in Triple-A en route to reaching this level?
Upton: When I was at Double-A Mobile, I knew that a lot of guys in our organization go right to the big leagues from there. It was something I was prepared for. But I was also prepared to go from Double-A to Triple-A, if that was the decision that was made.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How different are your surroundings now compared to the Minors?
Upton: Way different. Way different. Everything here is first class. I am just taking it all in and enjoying the experience.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You are a key member of a group of talented players who are quickly rising in this organization. What do you see in terms of up-and-coming talent as you look around this clubhouse?
Upton: You have guys like Chris Young, Carlos Quentin and Conor Jackson. Some of them have been here longer than I have, but they're also getting their feet wet in the big picture. Their experience can help me in my transition. It's great to have them around.
MLBPLAYERS.com: At the young age of 19, do you see any negatives of being in the big leagues right now?
Upton: I don't see anything bad about it. I don't see or I can't think of anything that is not good about being here so early. I can learn so much from some of the older guys who have been around for a while.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Do any of those veteran players in particular jump out at you?
Upton: Guys like Orlando Hudson and Tony Clark are two great people in this game. Everybody asks those two guys for advice.
Jeff Moeller, a freelance writer for MLBPLAYERS.com, is based in Los Angeles. MLBPLAYERS.com is the official Web site of the Major League Baseball Players Association. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.