Struggling Uggla is on bench again

MIAMI – Dan Uggla spent several hours Thursday watching video of his swing, working on that problematic swing in the indoor batting cage at Sun Life Stadium, and then taking batting practice with the rest of the Braves before the night game against the Florida Marlins.

Then he found a seat on the bench for the start of the game.

In the midst of a season-long slump the likes of which he’s never had to endure, the second baseman was out of the lineup Thursday for the third time in 14 days. Uggla missed only four starts during his entire 2010 season with the Marlins.

“Just to give him a breather,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, using what’s become his stock answer to why Uggla isn’t in the lineup.

Uggla was 6-for-68 (.088) with one double and one RBI in his past 20 games before Wednesday, dropping his average to a major league-worst .170 and his on-base percentage to a National League-worst .232.

He was asked if being out of the lineup was harder to take against Florida, in his first trip back since the Marlins traded him to Atlanta in November.

“It’s never a good day to get a day off, for me anyway,” Uggla said “It is what it is. I’m not swinging it [well], and Fredi’s putting together the best lineup he can to try to win ballgames.”

Gonzalez was his manager for 3-1/2 of Uggla’s five seasons with the Marlins, before being fired  in June 2010. Uggla hit over 30 homers in each of the past four seasons for Florida, and averaged 93 RBIs over five seasons while hitting .243 or higher with at least a .326 on-base percentage and .459 slugging percentage.

After posting career-best totals last season in average (.287), OBP (.369) and on-base-plus slugging percentage (.877), Uggla would have to get hot and stay hot for pretty much the rest of the season to avoid career-lows in every category.

His .306 slugging percentage was the league’s second-worst before Thursday, as was his .542 OPS. He had seven homers and 16 RBIs in 62 games.

“He’s working real hard with Larry [Parrish, hitting coach], watching film, working off a tee, doing all the things hitters work on,” Gonzalez said.

But his slump has only deepened. Uggla was 12-for-105 (.114) in his past 30 games with two homers, six RBIs and 25 strikeouts.

Gonzalez and general manager Frank Wren have repeatedly expressed confidence Uggla will get going and hit like the player the Braves saw torment them in the past. Uggla said he remains confident he will, too.

“I’m always confident in that,” he said, “and I’ve been really close to having those nights. It’s right there. I need to have a little luck and a lot of hard work.”

He there have been nights when he’s felt in sync and not had any balls drop for hits. And other nights when his stance and swing didn’t feel right but he got a hit, like his sixth-inning single Wednesday.

“My timing was off, my hips were flying open, my hands were dropping,” Uggla said. “One thing can cause other things to be off.”

After his hit Wednesday, he struck out in his final two at-bats in the eighth and 10th innings, both with runners in scoring position. That dropped him to 6-for-56 (.107) with runners in scoring position, second-lowest among major leaguers with enough plate appearances to qualify

One thing seems fairly certain: He isn’t going to be benched for any sustained period, not less than halfway through the first season of a five-year, $62 million contract extension.

Throughout this ordeal – and that’s what it has become — Uggla has heard countless opinions and received more hitting advice from outsiders than he could ever process. He has heard one analyst say his toe is pointed in the wrong direction, another say he needs to bring back his leg kick, and another say he’s just not staying back and “trusting his hands.”

“It’s nothing I don’t already know,” Uggla said. “It’s a matter of getting repetitions and getting that muscle memory back. You can look at it one time and say, ‘He’s doing this and needs to do that.’ Believe me, I’m right there. I see everything that everybody else is seeing.

“It’s just that my body, it wants to do its own thing right now.”

59 comments Add your comment

bruce

June 9th, 2011
7:03 pm

rooting for Uggs

thedream21479

June 9th, 2011
7:09 pm

I’m beginning to wonder if this is just going to be a lost season for him.

Nick Nunziata

June 9th, 2011
7:14 pm

Poor guy. It’s not his drive, approach, or talent. Just a mire. He’ll get out of it, and luckily he’s in a town that doesn’t treat their ballplayers like lepers when they’re down. Hope he puts it together soon, Braves need him.

Dwayne C

June 9th, 2011
7:15 pm

Even if Dan Uggla “gets it going” as has been so stated ad nauseam don’t expect his numbers to be anywhere near last year’s 30 plus homers and 100 plus RBI’s.

My guess is Uggla will rebound at the plate after the all tar break and finish with 15-17 homers and around 50-60 RBIs, well below his previous production at the plate…and also well below what his salary justifies.

Rupert

June 9th, 2011
7:24 pm

He’s got 7 homers and we are not close to being halfway done. I’d say he gets well past 20 when he figures this out. Rbi’s are another story.

Larry Parrish: do we know this man is qualified to be the hitting coach? All I’ve seen is a team go from being very patient and have great at-bats, to a more talented lineup that actually gets far less quality at-bats with less patience. I know everyone has rushed to defend TP now, but what if they fired a “C” hitting coach and replaced him with a “D” or an “F”. I have no idea how much of an impact he has on the hitters, but I do know that this is not the same approach they took last year and that’s not a good thing.

Country Boy

June 9th, 2011
7:28 pm

Since I was once a coach for my daughter’s T-Ball team I feel qualified to offer Dan some simple advice. Quit trying to hit every pitch 475 ft. and just meet the ball.

hawaiibravefan

June 9th, 2011
7:36 pm

I have the perfect solution for Danny. Just make him special eye contacts that magically makes opposing pitchers have a Braves uniform on.

lannnerbraves

June 9th, 2011
7:44 pm

goooo get a bat via tradethis is beyond ridiculous

J-bone

June 9th, 2011
7:46 pm

when Big Dan starts hitting, gonna be a bad day to be a baseball.

alex

June 9th, 2011
7:49 pm

Could it have been all the orange JUICE in fla. Hmmmmmmm…….. Reminds me a lot of the precipitous decline of jason giambi post “roids

Chipper's ACL

June 9th, 2011
7:51 pm

If anyone’s been watching baseball this season EVERY team is struggling at the plate. There is a reason they are calling this the year of the pitcher. Pujols is batting below .280. Enough said.
Danny will not get it going this season, nor next. A dead pull batter will never put up a high avg. I use the word batter because he is not a hitter. A hitter uses the entire field. There are are stands in right Danny. Try it sometime. Bloggers will never get off your back until you produce. We all hope for the best but I’m seeing a repeat of McLouth. Sorry. Truth hurts.
Anyone else read Chippers comments on Heywars and say huh??? Really? The man that hasn’t played a full season since little league? Next he’ll say Obama’s health care plan is the bomb Last, anyone else feel the draft was………less than desired? I’ve totally given up on our player scouting. Can’t see drafting 40 college kids as wise but I wasn’t asked. I was thrilled when Mahtook fell to our slot then got sick when we passed. Guess the OF talent in the minors was so strong he wasn’t needed. Guess we can wait til next year, and the next, and next,

phil

June 9th, 2011
8:03 pm

Uggly….

Nice work, DOB.

hal smith

June 9th, 2011
8:39 pm

National League teams have Uggla right where they want him…in the batter’s box! “Git yer gloves boys”!

FEAR

June 9th, 2011
8:42 pm

figures that as soon as the Braves got him, he slumped. Braves just have crap luck.

SooSorryTP

June 9th, 2011
8:53 pm

For all those years we blamed TP for our offensive problems, myself included, we have NEVER been that bad on offensive and for my part TP my sincere apology now I challenge others to admit that also

rbrave

June 9th, 2011
10:22 pm

They gave TP several years to prove he was worthless, lets see how long they give Parrish.

Kathy

June 9th, 2011
10:33 pm

Struggling Uggla = his new nickname —-> Struggla

Poor guy, he’s trying SO hard! I have faith that he’ll come around, I just hope it’s SOON! Go Braves!

Brave Fan

June 9th, 2011
10:33 pm

Baseball is a tough game. Uggla is pressing. Has no confidence right now. When he hits a few balls hard, he’ll be what he has always been. A .255 to .265 hitter with a few bombs.

Tomahawk Mafia

June 9th, 2011
10:59 pm

Oh, he is working with Parrish to cure his ailing swing and approach? That is the problem.

Ron Hyatt

June 9th, 2011
11:03 pm

Dan STruggla.

hank57

June 9th, 2011
11:11 pm

It’s not just Uggla. How about our sterling outfield. Schafer .196, Young .138, McClouth .238, and Heyward .214. I can’t recall an outfield this bad in many a moon.

carney johnson

June 9th, 2011
11:56 pm

country boy at 7:28 is seeing the same thing i’m seeing. you cant go up there trying to hit HRs. he’ll get it together sooner or later. in times like this, though, i wonder if it wouldnt be best to send the player down to AAA for a week to get himself straightened out. nothing punitive at all. just let him get out of the spotlight and do some work. the main thing wrong with him right now is it’s gotten in his head, and part of the problem there is he’s in the public glare failing every night.

Gumby

June 10th, 2011
12:15 am

I pulling for Dan. He was a terror of Braves pitching when he was with the Fish and I believe he will come around again.Nate came around nicely until his oblique injury and Jordan is looking sharp now as a lead off man. They both came back a long way. Dan Uggla will too.

shmoe

June 10th, 2011
1:10 am

no, a hitter hits the baseball for a living. hitting the baseball is what dan uggla does. has nothing to do with hitting pansy shots to right field.

DE Braves Fan

June 10th, 2011
2:29 am

For those saying Uggla needs to stop trying to hit HRs, this is who he is. Most of the swings last year he took Ruthian hacks. What is funny are people talking about how much he is striking out but his strikeout rate is actually lower than it has been since his rookie year. The big this is his BABIP is down this year (.184 for a guy who coming in was a career .300 guy with that) much of which is because his LD% is down and GB% is up.

Here is clearly putting in the work to try to fix it. He also does not need people like us telling him what he is doing wrong or anybody other than LP and Chipper. Part of the problem I think now is mentally he is getting so much that he can’t focus on just doing. That is part of what killed Frenchy too.

Chippers ACL= DUMB

June 10th, 2011
3:40 am

You are possible the dumbest person I’ve ever seen post on here. This is my first time posting on here, thats how dumb you are. You brought me out of the shadows. David Ortiz, Barry Bonds….both were dead pull hitters, how’d that work out for them? If Uggla hit 30+hr with 100+ RBI who the hell cares if his avg. is sub .280. AVG. is the most overrated stat in baseball to begin with. You are calling out Chipper because he misses games? He’s had ACL surgery twice. He has torn his hamstring away from the bone. There is a difference between being hurt and being injured. Chipper was saying if Hewyard is only hurt he needs to play. Chipper has played through being hurt his entire career. No one is faulting anyone when they are injured. You can’t see drafting 40 college kids as being wise but you got sick when we didn’t draft a college kid? You weren’t asked because you don’t matter and people that know more than you ever will about anything in your dumb life don’t care about your opinion. You lost faith in our scouting department? That seems reasonable because drafting Heyward, Freeman, McCann, Beachy, Minor, Prado, Venters, Kimbrel, trading for JJ, signing O’Flaherty, etc. all seem like idiotic decisions. Guess you will just keep complaining from your moms basement until next year, and next, and next

David O'Brien

June 10th, 2011
3:41 am

Braves (35-28), San Francisco (35-28) and Milwaukee (35-28) are tied for the third-best record in the National League and fifth-best record (winning percentage) in baseball, behind St. Louis (38-26), Philly (37-26), Boston (36-26) and Cleveland (34-26).

Nick

June 10th, 2011
4:26 am

I played with Uggla for 4 years in the minor leagues and I can tell you that he’s doing everything he can to get back on track…hours upon hours of extra batting practice and studying film. He’s never been this bad before, so it’s uncharted territory for him and he doesn’t (yet) know how to get passed it. There is a reason why the Braves gave him $62 million….he rakes!! Just look at his numbers the last 5 years. Give the guy a break for crying outloud. The best hitter is baseball the last 10 years (Pujols) is hitting well under .300 and all you hear is…”Oh my God…he’s done, he should retire…he’s passed his prime,” etc. They are human. If you think you are more worthy of a big league salary like Uggla’s….then by all means, grab a bat and go tryout. I’m sure it’s real easy to hit sitting on your couch, or in the stands……

Johnny Beach

June 10th, 2011
5:49 am

Uggla does try his best………………….I still say send him on a vacation for a week and then bring him back. He is in a HUMAN endless loop much like a computer endless loop. Needs a REBOOT

Brave New World

June 10th, 2011
7:12 am

When we first got Dan most on these blogs cited his defense as a liability. Well, Dan must have read your blogs and became obsessed with proving everyone wrong. Now all he does is think defense, and his defense has improved markedly. Trouble is, Dan is now consumed with defense, so he even thinks about ways to improve his defense when he is in the batter’s box. As he visualizes a backhand stop or a 4-6-3 double play, he forgets that he is supposed to be hitting. Be careful what you wish for, we now have “Defensive Dan.”

vermont 39

June 10th, 2011
7:24 am

No worries Dan…you will come out of this slump crushing!!!!

Bob the Blogger

June 10th, 2011
7:38 am

I sure wish the Braves and Uggla could agree to have him go to Gwinnett for a while to work things out. McLouth did, and came back much improved. They have tried every thing else, playing him every day, giving him days off, moving him around in the batting order, plus all of the practice. It’s time.

klmbbfan

June 10th, 2011
7:55 am

UGGLA get it together or get out of the lineup. Golfers don’t go to the course to work on their swing they go to the range. Stay in the cage until you see some improvement – playing through it is not working.

Chipper Jones

June 10th, 2011
8:17 am

With my frequent injuries and .252 average I thought I was stealing money from the Braves. Danny Boy takes all the attention off me and McLouth !

Terry Pendleton

June 10th, 2011
8:30 am

I might not be much of a hitting coach, but I can see clear over from first base that Uggla is pulling his head and eyes off the ball when he swings. Try watching the ball into the bat.

Ted Abernathy

June 10th, 2011
8:45 am

He’s standing too far from the plate.

Uggla Fan

June 10th, 2011
8:56 am

I’m a big fan and supporter of Uggla, but the team has to do something. I don’t know the numbers, but it seems like he strikes out a LOT. It’s like having 2 pitchers in the lineup, and it makes it hard to win games. I don’t think the extended pressure is doing him any good either.

His defense is good, but not worth a .170 average with a lot of strike outs. Start sitting him down and challenge him to earn a place in the lineup.

Formerbravefan

June 10th, 2011
9:09 am

Time for the slump-buster Uggla that’s all that can save you now.

Big Dude

June 10th, 2011
9:12 am

Maybe he should consider getting glasses/ contacts like B. Mac. did. Just saying…

Big Dude

June 10th, 2011
9:13 am

Maybe he should consider getting glasses/ contacts like B. Mac. Just saying…

rc35

June 10th, 2011
9:34 am

It will never happen, but the best thing that could happen to Major League Baseball would be a total revamp of the salary structure. Base pay would be based on making the roster, adjusted for years of service. Then, incentives would be paid for various levels of accomplishments. (I’m leaving pitchers out of the picture for the time being.) Say that .240 was agreed on as a baseline major league batting average. Incentives kick in at .250, .260, .270, etc. To keep from penalizing guys with a good eye or good team spirit, there are also incentives for bases on balls, sacrifice bunts/flies, and so on. There are bonuses for stolen bases, with an adjuster for “caught stealing” so that a guy wanting a new Porsche doesn’t keep running us out of innings. There should be a power adjuster to reward the boppers and an RBI incentive for the guys who get clutch hits, as well.

That way, 2010 Uggla would have raked in the clams as he raked in the hits; 2011 Uggla would not face the “pressure” of having to perform up to a multi-million dollar contract. Rookies (like Freeman) wouldn’t be penalized for being new and not having bargaining leverage; if they hit .280 and pick up enough RBI’s, they would be rewarded for what they do now.

Pitchers, of course, would need a different scale. There would need to be some defensive adjustments, as well, to reward the good glove guys who don’t get on base as much. Still, paying players for actual performance rather than potential performance would be a literal game-changer for MLB.

deb

June 10th, 2011
9:43 am

He needs to go see Brian McCann’s brother! I have confidence he’ll be back to his old self eventually. Give the guy a break.

Walker

June 10th, 2011
9:59 am

Looked like he moved closer to the plate last night. That is good. Has anyone checked his vision. I played college ball and was not seeing the ball well and had my vision checked and found out I was not seeing the ball. He needs to stop rocking and open his stance more and he might see the ball better. All the rocking and moving the bat up and down is messing his timing up. He will come around but need to relax and just try to make some solid swings without trying to hit every ball out of the park. It’s like watching a guy try to hit a golf ball hard and it goes 200 yards and then watching a 150 LB. guy hit it 300. It’s all about the turn and timing. Come on Dan.

J T Ellenwood

June 10th, 2011
10:29 am

Bring T.P. back trying to win with minor league players it is time to make a move.

nashvillewill

June 10th, 2011
11:13 am

Uggla would be smart to take a week at Gwinnett or Fla Instructional and work on his swing. Take off the pressure. Get in a flow. Work with a little league batting coach to get fundamentals in place. Something. This “plan” of a day off here and there isn’t working.
Watch Freeman and, lately, Gonzales for a more successful approach. Thanks to FG for moving Freeman up in order and Uggla down.

John

June 10th, 2011
11:37 am

Chipper’s injuries have been a little frustrating, but I respect him for busting it to be ready for the season after his surgery and for playing with a partially torn meniscus now.

thomas

June 10th, 2011
12:04 pm

Is it just me or are people much more sympathetic to Uggla than they were toward McClouth or Kawakami? Uggla’s slump is as bad, or worse, that what those guys went through…

Truth

June 10th, 2011
12:15 pm

If Braves don’t get into the postseason Uggla will be the scapegoat. A year ago on June 10th he was hitting 100 point higher

OldFan

June 10th, 2011
12:19 pm

Poor guy. But if he’s relying on “muscle memory” to regain his swing, he’s going to be struggling for a long time. He needs to work on that memory part between his ears to recall what he did to earn a 5 year, $62M, contract extension and get back to work on his fundamentals. Right now, he’s too big a liability to the team to expect that repetitive out-making is the key to recovery.

flintrock70

June 10th, 2011
12:33 pm

I believe in Danny Boy! GO BRAVES!

Brave New World

June 10th, 2011
1:12 pm

Dan needs to take a week and go to an MLB fantasy camp, bat .750 or so against 65 year old ex-major leaguers and rebuild his confidence. If nothing else, he’ll get a nice video.

Brave New World

June 10th, 2011
1:13 pm

Chipper Jones June 10th, 2011 8:17 am With my frequent injuries and .252 average I thought I was stealing money from the Braves. Danny Boy takes all the attention off me and McLouth !

Hilarious!

Mark (another one)

June 10th, 2011
2:05 pm

I think Uggla needs to hit left handed for a week and see if that can make him focus on mechanics ;-0.

The man knows how to hit and Parish knows how to coach. Sometimes players get in slumps and this is a hum dinger of a slump. The first thing he should do is shut out the rest of us and keep working with Parish. He’ll come out of this and not because someone on a blog tells him to move closer to the plate, open his stance, close his stance, point his front toes to the pitcher, keep his eyes level and take a bigger step.

If the season ended today, the Braves would be tied for the wild card. They are 2 games behind Phil. with 99 games to play. The keys are to get Uggla hitting, get Heyward playing, and to keep the pitching rolling. It also helps to keep a positive attitude.

murf4HOF

June 10th, 2011
3:09 pm

UGGLA get it together or get out of the lineup. Golfers don’t go to the course to work on their swing they go to the range. Stay in the cage until you see some improvement – playing through it is not working.

AMEN take a powder untill it’s corrected

Ed Glennon

June 10th, 2011
3:19 pm

I am pulling for Uggla. It is really difficult watching him hit right now espcecially when I am rooting for him to do well.

Bunster

June 10th, 2011
3:24 pm

Some times the good times don’t last. Remember Jeff Franceour. Had a great season and fell in to the well.

bostonbravo

June 10th, 2011
4:10 pm

trade him for a great pitcher like Kawakami.

tman

June 10th, 2011
5:45 pm

I’ve got a question regarding the closer’s spot. Why is it so important for Kimbrel to be the closer and not Venters? Clearly at this stage of their careers, Venters is the man for the job and we need to quit blowing games, as in Lowe’s fine start the other night. Is Kimbrel so mentally weak that we can’t put him in the set up spot til he gets more time under his belt? I’m sick of the rigidity going on and pat answers with the Braves. Go with whoever is hotter and worry more about winning games instead of hurting someone’s “confidence,” for crying out loud!!

Tom

June 17th, 2011
11:24 am

Ah, the curse of Frenchy and Andruw and ………

Add your comment