Philadelphia – As much as Dan Uggla has struggled for the past two months, he’s been making some progress of late and that’s part of the reason why manager Fredi Gonzalez said he sat Uggla Tuesday night against the Phillies.
Uggla is 8-for-55 (.145) with 18 strikeouts, as well as two doubles and two home runs in his career against Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels.
“I thought he’s had some great at-bats,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t want Hamels to mess him up….It’s like having good at-bats then facing a knuckleballer. It may screw you up for a while.”
Reed Johnson got the start in left field and Martin Prado made his third start of the season at second base.
Uggla, who’s hitting .212 on the season, has eight hits and eight RBIs in his past nine games. He hit .235 (8-for-34) in that time but with five doubles, and the way this season has gone, it’s something to build on.
Uggla went 2-for-4 against the Phillies Monday night for only his second multi-hit game in his past 51 games. He’s hitting .136 (23-for-169) since his four-hit game in Miami on June 5. He has only two home runs and 17 RBIs in that time.
“It’s been a grind to be me,” Uggla acknowledged. “Even when I’ve struggled in the past, I’m still hitting homers and driving people in.”
This is Uggla’s fourth time out of the lineup this season. He typically puts up a fuss with Gonzalez, though Gonzalez said Uggla took it a little better when he told him before Monday’s game.
Uggla couldn’t resist asking Gonzalez after his two-hit game Monday if he’d changed his mind, but he can also see the benefit of clearing his head.
“(You) can let your mind be at ease and relax and let all the stress roll off your back,” Uggla said.
Gonzalez said Uggla’s made some progress working with hitting coach Greg Walker on getting his front foot down faster to improve his timing at the plate.
“I’m a rhythm hitter, a timing hitter,” Uggla said. “(If) my timing is off, then I’m going to be doing what I’ve been doing the last couple months. Once my timing is on, then everything kind of flows. For whatever reason I’ve had the hardest time just getting on time.”