PITTSBURGH – A day to clear his head didn’t do much to change the course Dan Uggla has been on at the plate; and the struggling second baseman went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in his return to the lineup Wednesday against the Pirates.
Uggla finished this three-city trip 2-for-26 (.077) to magnify an already troubling start to his season. His average on the season fell to .180.
Heading into Wednesday’s game, Uggla admitted that perhaps the pressure of signing a five-year $62 million extension with a team he was just traded to this winter has caught up.
“It kind of comes with the territory,” said Uggla, who signed his first big multi-year contract in January, a few months after being traded from the Marlins. “You’re paid a lot of money to do a job and you want to do it; you want to fulfill it.”
Uggla said it’s something he and Brian McCann have talked about. McCann experienced some of the same pressures after signing a six-year extension worth $26.8 million with the Braves in 2007. The difference is McCann was staying with a team that already knew him well.
“Mac was telling me after he signed his deal, everybody was saying now you can just relax and go play, which you can,” Uggla said. “But there are two sides of it, and there’s added pressure. (It’s) not the team or anybody else on the outside, but you take it upon yourself because you want to live up to everything, do the things you’ve done in the past to help with ballgames.”
Uggla isn’t looking for any sympathy or using it as an excuse either, just acknowledging the pressures when asked about it.
“You can say all the things you want to say; it’s part of the game,” Uggla said. “It’s an adjustment I’ll have to make, when it comes down to it.”