By Mark Topkin
September 18, 2002
Second overall pick B.J. Upton had his first full-day instructional league with the Devil Rays workout cut short Tuesday when he had to be taken from the field in an ambulance and briefly hospitalized because of dehydration.
The 18-year-old Upton, who agreed last week to a $4.6-million bonus, was released after being given fluids intravenously and was at Tropicana Field for Tuesday night’s game.
“I wasn’t that scared, it was just painful,” he said.
Upton worked out with no problems Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning with the squad at the Naimoli complex. He was coming back on the field after a lunch break when he experienced severe cramping and had to be helped from the field, then transported to St. Anthony’s Hospital.
He will take today off but expects to return to the field Thursday and play in games next week. “I’ll be back,” he said.
Upton had become dehydrated during high school play in Virginia. He may have been troubled Tuesday by the heat and humidity and a lack of competitive activity during the three-month talks. “He had the whole summer off, unfortunately,” Rays director of player personnel Cam Bonifay said. “If he’d gone out and played like the rest of these kids he’d be in a lot better baseball shape, but that’s no one’s fault.”