Kendrick critical of Upton, Drew as D-backs struggle

To this point of the season, it’s been one step forward and two steps back for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Coming off a National League West Championship and trip to the NLDS expectations entering spring training were high for a club returning their core of position players from 2011, as well as added depth to the starting rotation and bullpen.

After racing out to a quick 5-1 start, Kirk Gibson’s team has fallen on hard times and entering Tuesday’s game against the Rockies find themselves nine games behind the first-place Dodgers in the NL West.

Although there is still plenty of time to turn the season around, frustration seems to be mounting within the organization starting with Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick who had some critical comments Tuesday towards All-Star outfielder Justin Upton and starting shortstop Stephen Drew.

“I think Justin is an enigma at this point,” Kendrick told Brad Cesmat on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “I know he had an injury early on…but he’s played. He’s certainly not the Justin Upton that he’s been in the past and that we would expect of him.”

Entering Tuesday’s game, Upton was hitting .243 with five home runs and 20 runs batted in. He’s struck out a team-high 48 times in 181 plate appearances.

“He’s 24-years old, it’s time for him to be a consistent performer and right now this year he’s not been that.”

Kendrick was also asked about starting shortstop Stephen Drew who has yet to play this season as recovers from a broken right ankle and torn tendons stemming from a slide into home plate against Milwaukee last July.

“I’m going to be real direct about Stephen,” Kendrick explained to Cesmat. “I think Stephen should have been out there playing before now. Frankly, [I’m] disappointed. Stephen and his representatives are more focused on where Stephen’s going to be a year from now than going out and supporting the team that’s paying his salary.”

Kendrick said he has not spoken to Drew directly, but others in the front office have.

Drew reported to Triple-A Reno this week and expects to play Thursday night for the Aces in Tucson.

The organization has not set a timetable for Drew’s return.

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