Gonzalez sits struggling second baseman Uggla in Tuesday’s opener

PITTSBURGH – Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez sat scuffling second baseman Dan Uggla for Tuesday night’s opener against the Pirates.

It’s the first time all season Uggla has been out of the lineup, but after going 2-for-21 (.095) in the first five games of the Braves road trip to drop his season average to .185, Uggla conceded a breather was good.

“I couldn’t argue my way back into the lineup today,” said Uggla, who talked to Gonzalez about it on the plane ride from Arizona Sunday night. “It’s one of those things where he could tell I was really frustrated, and he wanted to let me have a little break.”

The fact that it came after an off day Monday and in a game the Braves are already playing without Nate McLouth and Jason Heyward, both of whom are on the disabled list, gives an indication of the depth of Uggla’s slump.

He hit only .202 in April, in his first month as a Brave following his offseason trade and subsequent signing of a $62 million extension. He’s traditionally a slow starter, but more than three weeks into May the “it’ll come” argument has lost merit. His .185 average is third worst in the National League among qualified every-day players.

So Gonzalez is trying a mental break.

“Give him a breather…” said Gonzalez, who indicated he’d probably use Uggla off the bench at some point in the game.  “Even though you get a scheduled off day (Monday), it’s not the same as playing a game and having an off day, sitting in here, watching a game, kind of relaxing.”

A day off is rare for Uggla period. He averaged 156 games per year in his five seasons with the Marlins and had played in every inning of every game this season, with the exception of the eighth and final defensive inning in Friday night’s 9-0 loss in Anaheim.

“You’ve just got to stay focused, stay positive and keep the right mindset,” said Uggla, who acknowledged that has gotten harder during a 1-4 trip. “When you lose games, things get magnified.”

Brooks Conrad made his first start of the season at second in Uggla’s place Tuesday night, making only his second start in the field this season.

Gonzalez said he hasn’t seen Uggla put too much pressure on himself and commends him for continuing to play hard.

“The way he’s been playing the game, you’ve got to really appreciate that,” Gonzalez said. “In other facets of the game, running the bases, playing the game hard-nosed, that’s just the way he is. I don’t think that’s going to change whether he’s hitting .500 or hitting what he’s hitting. He knows how to play the game one way. A lot of guys would feel sorry for themselves and play differently. That’s not him.”

72 comments Add your comment

Remarkable

May 24th, 2011
5:45 pm

Remarkable

May 24th, 2011
5:46 pm

Someone needs to tell Uggla that we signed him to a long term contract. He’s going to be here for a while. His hitting will come. He’s too good a player for it not to. I love to see him come to the plate. With those guns, you know he’s a danger to hit it out every time.

ATLBrave

May 24th, 2011
5:49 pm

Needs the game off, good move

tulsabravo

May 24th, 2011
5:53 pm

I say bench him for the rest of the season.

Q&A

May 24th, 2011
5:54 pm

ANSWER: “Take The Money And Run” by Steve Miller Band

QUESTION: Name Dan Uggla’s favorite song.

south georgia boy

May 24th, 2011
5:55 pm

“other facets of the game like running the bases” don’t have to do much base running when you are hitting ,185

Millbrook

May 24th, 2011
5:55 pm

Uggla blows.

Rupert

May 24th, 2011
5:56 pm

over/under 1 error for Conrad tonight at second?

Bravesfan86

May 24th, 2011
5:57 pm

Not sure about this move given how short-handed we already are.

Remarkable

May 24th, 2011
5:57 pm

Q&A Don’t be a jerk. No one publishes such things about you and your work ethic when you have a rough spell. Uggla wants to hit as much as any other player. He doesn’t go out to the park and say, “Well, I’m getting paid but I don’t care if I hit today or not.” That’s just foolish.

Tyler

May 24th, 2011
5:57 pm

Enter your comments here

Looking Forward to Freddies (both of them)

May 24th, 2011
5:58 pm

Well said Remarkable. He just need to relax and watch a few pitches. Once he is comfortable with seeing the kind pitches they are going to throw him, he needs to relax and swing easily.

(He looks kind of like a frustrated golfer who can obviously crush a ball, but is trying to kill the ball off the tee rather than letting their own strength do what it does naturally)

tulsabravo

May 24th, 2011
5:59 pm

Like he couldn’t do that when he was with the Marlins, Looking Forward? Or I guess they were just pitching him differently.

count_schemula

May 24th, 2011
6:00 pm

Show us something Schafer. Uggla will be fine. Just need to get back to his game.

count_schemula

May 24th, 2011
6:05 pm

@tulsa he’s obviously pressing himself to be the man, which, is what he’s paid to do, but, at his best he’s a .265 hitter, so, he, just needs to embrace his .265 and get hit 150Ks with some production in between. I’m not happy to have been mostly right on the Uggla trade. Just not enough upside for the opportunity cost when we had Prado and Infante to bolster the infield and we needed a CF and LF.

Dennis Reynolds

May 24th, 2011
6:06 pm

It’s pretty obvious that the problem is he’s pressing. He wouldn’t be hitting like this if he were still in FLA.

FREE CONSTANZA!!

Bill Stanfill

May 24th, 2011
6:06 pm

Uggla has been a Francoeur-like hole in the line-up. Only Prado has more at-bats and I’m surprised Fredi G. hasn’t sat him for a few games before now. In fact, I think Fredi needs to sit Uggla for about 3 games, not even use him to pinch-hit. Braves need his production and we’re heading toward June.

Gotta do something different–hopefully Uggla gets a little rest, then his bat begins to warm up with the summer heat . . . and the Braves get the RBI production they were counting on from this guy.

Ralph

May 24th, 2011
6:09 pm

Did Fredi forget that Prado is a second baseman, what an idiot!

Ralph

May 24th, 2011
6:10 pm

Great move Fredi, you replace a 185 hitter with a 136 hitter that can’t field either, hope it bites you in the A@#.

milesarcher33

May 24th, 2011
6:11 pm

Uggla is a money grubbing bum. Give him his release even if it costs a bunch of money. Let him be a no talent” money grubber somewhere else.

RM

May 24th, 2011
6:13 pm

Wobble Legs

May 24th, 2011
6:14 pm

Best decision Fredi has made to date . . . hopeful he has learned something too. It just hurts your team when you keep doing the same thing over and over and nothing changes. Maybe order him some new bats and a few new uniforms so the old ones can be burned. Start over with a clean slate “you know”?

Tomahawk Mafia

May 24th, 2011
6:14 pm

I for one have grown tired of the Braves perpetually slow starts for both the team and the players. The fact that the team consistently begins the season mired in mediocrity and many players struggle at the plate hints at a cultural issue for the team that needs to be addressed. It is almost as if the players feel that although they can struggle in the early portion of the season they know they will eventually begin playing well. I for one dislike that mindset and wish everyone would play with a consistent mindset of winning every game regardless of the juncture of the season. That is my rant.

TxB

May 24th, 2011
6:19 pm

Best move of FG short career as the skipper. one word…Liability. That’s why you have to bench him. I said it was coming but most of you said it wouldn’t happen. I would have put Prado at 2nd and had Hinske Schafer and Mather in the OF

Conyers Braves Fan

May 24th, 2011
6:21 pm

Freddi is the manaeger. I am not a blogger who criticizes managers or coaches because I as a fan don`t know what is really going on internally with the team. I will say that I am surprised that he waited so long in this case given the prolonged slump by Uggla.

Felix The Kitten

May 24th, 2011
6:33 pm

How about tonight off and a weekend Carnival Cruise paid for by the Braves. I’ll bet if he pinch hits tonight he strikes out.

Frank C

May 24th, 2011
6:38 pm

If you’re going to bench Uggla & with McClouth out, why not play Mather? He’s been hot. Put Prado @ 2b rather than Conrad & Mather in either LF or RF? I like Conrad & appreciate what he did last year, but that was last year. If Uggla isn’t playing because he’s not hitting why not play Mather because he is hitting?

Scott from Fairburn

May 24th, 2011
6:40 pm

nique

May 24th, 2011
6:50 pm

I like the idea of giving Uggla a little break, and agree with Frank C re Mather and Conrad. Mather should be playing everyday right now given the rest of our lineup at the moment.

Aceman

May 24th, 2011
6:52 pm

I think mather is sitting out because i heard on the radio morton is holding rh hitter to a batting avg around .150 or something, so conrad being the switch hitting, can hit lefty, which lefties are hitting .350 or something off of Morton

Bill in VA

May 24th, 2011
6:53 pm

Conyers Braves Fan………Good thoughtful post!

JT

May 24th, 2011
6:56 pm

The fans in this state have got to be the worst. You demand so much from a team that does everything right and year to year wins at a better clip than nearly anyone in baseball, but you will show up every Saturday to cheer on the most overrated program in the SEC that hasn’t won anything of real note in my lifetime plus a few years with a roster full of thugs and coached by thugs like Todd Grantham.

Ralph

May 24th, 2011
7:01 pm

Fredi beleives that if your going to sit the coldest hitter you should sit the hottest hitter at the same time, sortm of equals everything out, don’t want to take an unfair advantage over the opisition, Did Bobby teach you that or did you dream it up all by yourself, huh Freddi?

NorCal Brave

May 24th, 2011
7:02 pm

I’m thinking Fredi’s going with Conrad at 2B just to get him some AB’s. Hope Brooksie’s not as nervous as I am about his being in the field.

Tallahassee Trailer Park

May 24th, 2011
7:02 pm

Conyers-I’m betting you and 75% of the people on this blog are as smart as Fredi. Let’s not make managing a baseball team into brain surgery. I would also say that 99% of you would not mind being ctiticized in public if you made 12 million a year. You would find a way to persevere

Jake Scott

May 24th, 2011
7:06 pm

Conyers, What do you think could possibly be going on for a guy making Uggla money to not perform. If there is something in his life that is so bad he should come out and reveal it and maybe we wouldn’t mind he was hitting less than 200.

Ralph

May 24th, 2011
7:10 pm

Cy Morton on the mound.

Kat

May 24th, 2011
7:10 pm

DO NOT say he’s injured! :/

Kat

May 24th, 2011
7:11 pm

Opps wrong blog thread.

Chimp Carey

May 24th, 2011
7:17 pm

Good!

Popeye needs to sit his rear on the bench and calm down. His also needs to watch Chipper and learn how to HIT THE BALL WHERE IT IS PITCHED!

Stop trying to pull everything already and go the other way every once it a while. Geez…

Chimp Carey

May 24th, 2011
7:21 pm

I wish we could have kept Diaz. Watch him kill us tonight… Looking forward to seeing JJ pitch though- he is really maturing into a heady pitcher.

gcs

May 24th, 2011
7:28 pm

HOORAY! Finally.
This will be the first inning of play Uggla has missed this season.

.

ted william's head

May 24th, 2011
7:28 pm

this guy needs to go back to Memphis State. what a bust!

kevkat

May 24th, 2011
7:42 pm

Wow..that young man can fly

TxB

May 24th, 2011
8:19 pm

not coming through in the cluth is getting old….

Brave Fan

May 24th, 2011
8:21 pm

Bobby would still be out there arguing that fan interference call.

ray

May 24th, 2011
8:29 pm

nothing seems to get Uggla hitting so try sitting him out.
almost anyone we trade for fades out
Morton is tough so why expose him to that sharp ex-Brave.
is mc Louth watching form the dugout and asking himself “did they really trade that guy Moron and 2 others for me ” ?
all of a sudden Farnsworth is a closer ? he couldn’t even do set up work for us

Jim Bakker

May 24th, 2011
11:06 pm

…too bad he can’t sit the whole damn team.

adh

May 24th, 2011
11:38 pm

Uggla’s swing is as bad as his haircut. I’ll be very curious to see how he climbs out of this black hole. History is on his side, but he better get zoned in ASAP.

Entertaining to read Gonzalez say he knows Uggla is continuing to play hard by how well he’s running the bases. Really? That’s a quote.only Bobby Cox could love.

Uggla

May 25th, 2011
12:12 am

I really think they should move him up in the lineup. I’d bat him second behind Chipper, Mac and Hinske. Maybe hitting in front of Mac and Chipper he’ll see some more fastballs.

usetobseasonticfan

May 25th, 2011
12:27 am

I knew the Ugly for Infante trade was a bad deal. Be a great move to trade for Infante and get him back. Also be great to see base stealing and speed, Infante is a line drive hitter, Uggla a homer hitter. That braves team with Sanders and Nixon was the best ever. Exciting base ball is “Get on, get over, and score” Gonzalez always had speed on his Fla teams and I looked forward to him making some changes on the “wait on the homer” braves? Come on, lets see some Gonzo ball!! Bobby ball is history.

Alpha9

May 25th, 2011
12:33 am

Has it occured to anyone that Prado needs as many games as he can get in left field seeing as how he has never played there on a regular basis.Not to mention he needs to see the ball from left field of every stadium they play in because every site line is different.everybody wanted to run Troy Glause out of town too and as i recall he is probably the only reason Braves made the playoffs last year..patience oh fairweather ones

Alpha9

May 25th, 2011
12:38 am

funny how the speed team of Sanders and Nixon never one a world series yet the power hitting team of Justice Mcgriff Klesko Chipper and Blauser seven of your starting 9 had 20 + Hrs..Won It all and outslugged the Mighty Cleveland Indians that year.funny because that could just as easily happen this year from 1 – 8 everyone has power..let’s let the lights come on first before we judge

BravesAC

May 25th, 2011
4:12 am

Whoa Aceman!
We don’t need facts around here…just witty sarcasm, jealousy, envy, baseless attacks, half truths, etc.
(My point being I thought you had a great point over why Conrad is playing over Mather despite Mather’s hot hitting. A lot of these posts are about as factual as the reasons you give when you break up with someone…a lot of emotion and little reason)

tim

May 25th, 2011
5:28 am

I am so sick of people making excuses for these guys and prolonged slumps (i.e. uggla etal). These are professional major league ballplayers they should be able to fall out of bed and at least hit their weight. Rod Carew, Pete Rose,George Brett, hell even Terry Pendleton to name a few did they have slumps of course they did. But you did not see it last a month or two or stretch into a whole season. They took pride in their craft the art of hitting. No Mr Uggla is like so many of the modern day athlete he finally cashed in got his BIG payday and no longer gives a damn. So we the fans , management make excuses for him he pressing, he still playing hard blah blah. If you or I did our jobs this way we would be FIRED!! Come Uggla tell the truth you got the dough and you do not have enough pride or you just don’t care, and your not alone look all over the major leagues,nfl,nba they are all the same.

manweez

May 25th, 2011
5:33 am

BravesAC- Perceptive and articulate. Amen

vermont 39

May 25th, 2011
6:06 am

GO BRAVES!!!

Old Dawg Fan

May 25th, 2011
7:00 am

Uggla is the typical Braves “trade”. They do great until they get to the Braves-then they start to “stink up the place”, trade him and he will hit over .300 and hit 40 homers, until them he will probably not break .200 for average nor hit 20 homers.
I would send him home, wasting time and money.

K Carter

May 25th, 2011
8:37 am

I agree with giving a slumping player the day off. But HOW I wish I could get that kind of consideration at MY job. Yes, I get paid vacation and sick leave, but I’m talking about my boss coming to me and saying, “You’re really struggling here at work. Take some paid time off–on the company, then come back and see if your work has improved.” Wouldn’t that be nice?

charles shellabarger

May 25th, 2011
8:57 am

Fire the hitting coach.
Too many first pitch swings.
Too many swings at balls out of the strike zone and this is up and down the whole lineup. Not just Uggla.

Kashi

May 25th, 2011
9:20 am

We need to have auspicious drum rally around Turner field before any new member of braves put on Braves jersey to keep their bats and pitching going….

Redstategal

May 25th, 2011
9:47 am

I do miss Omar! But I remember very well the feeling of dread I always got when Uggla came up to bat against the Braves. Hoping that at some point soon, fans of the Braves’ rivals feel the same way.

Johnny Beach

May 25th, 2011
10:02 am

KEEP Uggla on da bench until the all star game. Maybe he will get his head together by then.

Crabkilla

May 25th, 2011
10:08 am

I voted for all Braves on the All-Star game ballet except for Uggla. I voted for Omar Infante instead. Why did we trade him??? He was our best player last year.

Pelu Maad

May 25th, 2011
10:24 am

Uggla will be OK. The real problems will start when Jason Heyward and Fredi fall out.Go FISH!

Doug

May 25th, 2011
10:28 am

Considering Uggla’s miserable performance through spring training and up to now in the regular season, how did Fredi determine that he was in a slump? He’s looked the same to me the entire time! One thing is consistent – I used to dread his coming to bat against us and now I dread his coming to bat for us.

Doug

May 25th, 2011
10:28 am

Considering Uggla’s miserable performance through spring training and up to now in the regular season, how did Fredi determine that he was in a slump? He’s looked the same to me the entire time! One thing is consistent – I used to dread his coming to bat against us and now I dread his coming to bat for us.

Hawes

May 25th, 2011
10:53 am

So, the two replacements in the lineup – Schafer and Conrad – both factor into runs. Schafer drew a walk (don’t worry, Larry Parish will coach that out of him) and used his speed to score on a double. Conrad managed to do something Uggly hasn’t done all year: hit a sac fly.

Think about that. Dude is hitting in the middle of the order and doesn’t have a single sac fly all season long.

John Gibson

May 25th, 2011
11:35 am

Uggla and the whole team’s anemic offense reflects the disregard this team has for hitting. We should have a new hitting coach every month until somebody brings our bats around. Our hitting management has done something our pitching could never do when Uggla played for the Marlins- make him an ineffective hitter!

DC Brave

May 25th, 2011
11:54 am

Anybody wondering if Uggla’s woes could be caused by who’s hitting behind him?

bravesfansince 80

May 25th, 2011
12:49 pm

WOW Fire Terry Pendleton! Fire Larry Parrish…… Can’t help but to wonder why hitters die in Atlanta and think that it has something to do management or mismanagement

Mike

May 25th, 2011
2:10 pm

Come on guys. Have any of you looked at the standings lately? We are still in the hunt as bad as we have played with a lot of games left in the season. We are 1 game out of the wild card and only 3 games out of the lead in the division. All of you so-called experts just want to bitsh about things that you know nothing about.

If you are a TRUE Braves fan you should be looking at things from the positive side. Most of you experts said that Chipper was done….WRONG! Now you complain about Uggla. Just wait…..as long as the pitching holds up, we will be fine. GO BRAVES!

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