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Upton responds to lineup shift with three hits

Upton responds to lineup shift with three hits

Upton responds to lineup shift with three hits
CINCINNATI -- As the old saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Likewise, if something is broken, fix it.

Entering the D-backs' 5-3 win in Cincinnati on Monday, right fielder Justin Upton was struggling. He was coming off an 0-for-10 showing in the Chicago series, and he was hitting .186 in his previous 11 games, with eight hits and three RBIs.

"He didn't have a hit in the last series," manager Kirk Gibson said. "I see him actually putting more work into breaking down his swing, which can be a dangerous thing. I've seen him watch a lot more video of not himself, but other people."

Upton's 2012 numbers fall far below his All-Star pace from last season. Through 83 games this season, Upton has 82 hits, seven homers, 12 doubles and 38 RBIs. In 159 games in 2011, Upton totaled 171 hits, 31 home runs, 39 doubles and 88 RBIs.

Searching for an answer, Gibson decided to move Upton out of his usual spot in the three-hole, and move him to the No. 5 spot for Monday's game against the Reds.

"The point is to try and help him and help the team," Gibson said. "It's been four months, and he's just not been able to catch fire like he's wanted to in the past."

Gibson's plan may be paying off, as Upton, who did not speak to reporters after the game, chalked up a 3-for-4 showing in first game from the five-hole.

"We switched around a little bit; it was very productive," Gibson said. "Hopefully, it will stay that way."

Before Monday, Upton had taken 296 of his 300 at-bats this season in the third spot.

D-backs second baseman Aaron Hill said that while he doesn't believe that changing spots in the lineup affects a hitter, he won't question it if the success continues.

"Who knows, maybe it does work? We won today so yeah, sure," Hill laughed. "Maybe with some clubs, but I really don't think this club really cares where they're at. The guys aren't really worried about where they're hitting."

Mark Clements 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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