Braves manager will ‘pick his spots’ to rest slumping Uggla

SAN FRANCISCO – When Fredi Gonzalez was asked by Fox broadcaster Tim McCarver what the manager had learned from his Braves’ September collapse last year, Gonzalez said he’d learned to be less patient.

Fredi Gonzalez is going to "pick his spots" to rest Dan Uggla until the slumping second baseman gets his bat going. He's hit under .150 for nearly three months.

Fredi Gonzalez is going to "pick his spots" to rest Dan Uggla until the slumping second baseman gets his bat going. He's hit under .150 for nearly three months. (AP photo)

“Sometimes you feel like you’ve got to go with a guy, and you go with him for a lot of good reasons,” he told McCarver. “But you have to understand, April and May is not September…. At the end of the season, you say, ‘You could have done this, you could have done that, maybe I stuck with this guy at this position too long, maybe I stuck with that pitcher too long.’”

And so I asked Fredi today about the specific player that came to mind when I read what he’d said to McCarver. I asked him how his statement applied to Dan Uggla, who entered Sunday with a .206 batting average and .364 slugging percentage, and who had hit just .143 in his past 66 games with five homers, 44 walks and 82 strikeouts in 224 at-bats.

Uggla was 2-for-28 with one extra-base hit and no RBIs in his last nine games, yet had started more games (122) than any Brave except All-Star center fielder Michael Bourn (124) before Sunday. Uggla started 16 of the last 17 games before Sunday, when he was out of the lineup and Martin Prado was at second base. Uggla was 0-for-10 with six strikeouts against Tim Lincecum, the Giants’ starter for he series finale.

“It applies, but it doesn’t apply,” Gonzalez said of his comments about being less patient and not sticking with some players too long. “With me with Danny … you know he’s struggling. We all know he’s struggling. He knows he’s struggling. The whole world knows he’s struggling. It gets tweeted and blogged every single day. And I’m going to pick my spots with him.

“We need to get him straight. That’s a big bat. We need to get him straight, and Walk [hitting coach Greg Walker] thinks that we can get him straight and get him going in the right direction. That being said, why run him into 0-for-10 with six punchouts against Lincecum today?”

And so Uggla was on the bench for the second time in five games, which equaled the number of times he didn’t start in the team’s first 97 games.

“We’ve got to be smart and diligent,” Gonzalez said. “Or I’ve got to be smart and diligent, because I’m the one who makes the lineup. And pick our spots with him until we get him straightened out. We’ve seen it where he can carry us. So you see 0-for-10 with six punchouts, why keep running him out there? That’s not doing him any good, it’s not doing us any good. So we’re going to pick our spots a little bit.”

Prado was an All-Star second baseman in 2010, before the Braves traded for Uggla that November and moved Prado to left field. With the July 30 trade that brought Reed Johnson from the Cubs, the Braves now have what they consider a viable option if Uggla’s out of the lineup, although Gonzalez said he prefers to play Johnson against lefties.

Johnson has hit .321 with an .854 OPS in 109 at-bats against lefties this season with the Cubs and Braves, and .293 with a .736 OPS in 99 at-bats against righties. In the previous three seasons, the veteran bench player hit .308 with an .822 OPS in 276 at-bats against lefties and .255 with a .681 OPS in 337 at-bats against righties.

“We do [have an option at second base] against a left-handed pitcher,” Gonzalez said. “But against a right-handed pitcher it’s tougher. With a lefty you can put Prado at second and Reed Johnson in left field. Against a righty you can do the same thing, but you’re doing an injustice to Reed. And he hasn’t played every day. He has a history of some back issues, almost like [a Mark] Kotsay type of deal.”

It’s clear that Gonzalez isn’t ready to give up on Uggla or make second base a platoon position, but it’s also clear that with the wild-card race tightening up behind them and the Braves down to only 35 games left to try to catch the Nationals, Gonzalez isn’t going to continue his former practice of “keep running him out there” every day until Uggla gets out of his epic slump, if a three-month slide can even be called a slump.

• Chipper rests sore oblique: With Chipper Jones out of the lineup for the second consecutive game, the third baseman and Gonzalez divulged today that it was a sore left oblique and back that was the reason. Not the “just old” explanation that Chipper gave Saturday morning.

Chipper Jones has a sore oblique and back, and wasn't in the lineup for his last two scheduled games at San Francisco (AP photo)

Chipper Jones has a sore oblique and back, and wasn't in the lineup for his last two scheduled games at San Francisco (AP photo)

Jones, who got hurt in his final at-bat Friday, doesn’t think it’s anything serious — as long as he doesn’t aggravate it by trying to play before it’s ready. He’s taking some easy swings in the batting cage as I type this Sunday, during BP, but I haven’t seen him swing hard yet. He said he’d see how it felt in BP before deciding if he’d be available to pinch-hit.

“The oblique’s bothering me more than the back,” he said. “Or else I would have pinch-hit yesterday with the bases loaded and one out. Kind of a good time to use me…. . That situation comes up and I know he wanted to use me right there, but you’ve just got to be smart.”

When Jones showed up Saturday morning, he told Gonzalez he didn’t think he could help the team Saturday. They didn’t want to say anything before Saturday’s game because they didn’t want the Giants to know he wasn’t available to pinch-hit.

Jones felt a twinge in his left side when he swung on a foul ball in his final at-bat Friday, and ended up popping out on the at-bat to go 0-for-4 to snap an eight-game hitting streak. He was 10-for-32 (.313) with two doubles and three home runs during the streak.

• Tonight’s matchup: It’s Tim squared. Tim Hudson vs. the Giants’ Tim Lincecum (7-13, 5.30 ERA), who is having a most un-Lincecum season.

But look a little closer and you will see that, while Lincecum has a hard-to-believe 6.99 ERA and .877 opponents’ OPS in 13 road starts, he’s got a decent 3.92 ERA and .684 OPS in 13 starts here at AT&T Park. He’s 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in his past five starts, the losses coming in his past two home starts against Colorado and Washington

Lincecum is 6-4 with a 3.12 ERA in 10 regular-season starts against the Braves, but 0-3 with a 4.12 ERA in his past three including two losses in 2011 (he hasn’t faced them this season)

Meanwhile, Hudson is 6-0 with a 3.44 ERA in his past nine starts, and the Braves won eight of his starts in a row before losing his last one at Washington in Monday’s road-trip opener, when he gave up four runs in the first inning (and no more in the next five innings)

Hudson is 5-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his past eight starts against the Giants, including a July 19 win when he gave up eight hits and two runs in 7-1/3 innings.

• Etc.

Craig Kimbrel’s ninth-inning appearance in Sunday’s 7-3 win was just the fifth time he’s pitched in the past 21 games, none of those in save opportunities. His last save opportunity was Aug. 3, when he struck out the side against Houston to give him 22 saves in 23 chances during 31 appearances over a stretch of 76 Braves games.

Since then Kimbrel has pitched just five innings and allowed one hit, one walk while collecting 10 strikeouts in five scoreless innings. When the Braves scored a run in the ninth to make it a non-save situation Saturday, Gonzalez thought about not using him, but pitching coach Roger McDowell reminded the manager that Kimbrel had pitched only twice in the past 10 days….

Jason Heyward’s crucial three-run homer Saturday was just the first by a left-handed batter off Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner at AT&T Park in exactly two years, since Joey Votto hit on Aug. 25, 2010. In nine games at AT&T Park before Sunday, Heyward was 13-for-33 (.394) with five homers, 11 RBIs, a .487 OBP and a .879 slugging percentage. That’s even better than at Wrigley Field, where Heyward also has 33 and has hit .333 four homers, 10 RBIs, a .425 OBP and .758 slugging percentage.

Heyward has hit .262 with a .777 OPS and eight homers in 62 home games this season, compared to .294 with 15 homers and a .933 OPS in 62 road games before Sunday. For his career, he’s hit .254 with 22 homers and a .771 OPS in 203 home games, and had a .272 average with 33 homers and .852 OPS in 191 road games before Sunday.

• OK, let’s get this posted. First pitch in a half-hour. Here’s a classic cut by the mighty Clash, which you can hear by clicking here. It was a solid night of tuneage last night at the Joe Strummer Tribute at Bottom of the Hill here in San Francisco.

The+Clash

“RUDIE CAN’T FAIL” by The Clash

Sing, Michael, sing-on the route of the nineteen bus
Hear them sayin’
How you get a rude and a reckless?
Don’t you be so crude and a feckless
You been drinking brew for breakfast
Rudie can’t fail

So we reply
I know that my life make you nervous
But I tell you that I can’t live in service
Like the doctor who was born for a purpose
Rudie can’t fail

I went to the market to realize my soul
‘Cause what I need I just don’t have
First they curse, then they press me till I hurt
We say Rudie can’t fail

We hear them sayin’
Now first you must cure your temper
Then you find a job in the paper
You need someone for a savior
Oh, Rudie can’t fail

We reply
Now we get a rude and a reckless
We been seen lookin’ cool an’ a speckless
We been drinking brew for breakfast
So Rudie can’t fail

Okay!
So where you want to go today?
Hey boss man!
You’re looking pretty smart
In your chicken skin suit

You think you’re pretty hot
In your pork pie hat
But…Rudie can’t fail
Look out, look out…
Sky juice!…ten cents a bottle!

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

1,478 comments Add your comment

Venice Jim

August 26th, 2012
7:55 pm

Thanks, DOB!!!

George

August 26th, 2012
7:57 pm

George repost from bottom of page 29, thank for new blog DOB.

August 26th, 2012
7:49 pm
Venice Jim

August 26th, 2012
7:42 pm
WOW, All is not well in DC land, thanks for the INFO VJ.

Animus

August 26th, 2012
7:57 pm

Glad to hear the Question re: Uggla, and an honest answer from Fredi.

Thanks DOB – worth the wait!

Trader Jack

August 26th, 2012
7:58 pm

Trader Jack

August 26th, 2012
7:56 pm

The Nats went into Philly running their mouths. and what they got was a real b*tch slap upside the head. Hence the after game “discussions”

phil

August 26th, 2012
7:59 pm

Good read, david. Thanks.

Poor fredi, but at least he’s showing williness to sit uggla’s butt down!

Animus

August 26th, 2012
8:00 pm

Nice to hear the gNats are feeling some pressure. Nicer still was the sweep which extended their losing streak to four. The Braves need to step up and take advantage in these last 35 games.

Still being optimistic!

phil

August 26th, 2012
8:00 pm

nolie

August 26th, 2012
8:01 pm

They are just models phil, much like the various WAR models. Nobody really knows what is right
Heck that storm earlier that stalled for awhile, they weren’t even sure which way it would turn,East or West, when it neared the cost up there :?

phil

August 26th, 2012
8:01 pm

Lincecum…..

I guess we all know he’s likely to smoke us, go the distance, hold us to 2 or 3 hits….

The A Bomb

August 26th, 2012
8:02 pm

MIAMI 6 FORT KNOX 2 FINAL

Venice Jim

August 26th, 2012
8:03 pm

Dodgers fall to a .500 record during the Adrian Gonzalez era…

phil

August 26th, 2012
8:03 pm

Of course, nolie….i just wish they would once and awhile make a call w/o being slaves to models…..look at the weather for a change, analyze something, think ahead.

VaBravesFan

August 26th, 2012
8:04 pm

Fredi should just keep running Uggla out there at this point lol.. Put up with Uggla’s failures for 3 months might as well keep it going.

Game Changer

August 26th, 2012
8:05 pm

Uggla slumping????

when has he not been in a slump – be honest when writing an article

Uggla had a good four week period early this year, I posted I may have to re-evaluate the scouting report on Uggla, then he went back to the known weaknesses of his game, alot of strike outs, not much power, big lob numbers each year, poor base running mentally, shotty defense at second.

nolie

August 26th, 2012
8:05 pm

with weather, I’m not sure that eyeballin’ it, is realistic…

Bat Masterson

August 26th, 2012
8:05 pm

Good stuff, David.

uggla ……. :sigh:

Go Braves!!!

Bat Masterson

August 26th, 2012
8:06 pm

Oh Yeah, thanks, DOB

Tomahawk Mafia

August 26th, 2012
8:06 pm

The game is on ESPN tonight, so that means the Braves will likely embarrass themselves like they normally do on ESPN.

CaptainMudd

August 26th, 2012
8:06 pm

Timely new one….thank you D.O.B.

Sundrop Kid

August 26th, 2012
8:07 pm

The deal with Uggla reminds me of one of Yogi Berra’s classic sayings. He said, ” I ain’t in no slump, I just ain’t hitting.” The two do seem to go together.

phil

August 26th, 2012
8:07 pm

Game changer = moron

Be honest? :roll:

Kat

August 26th, 2012
8:08 pm

Southern California is nice :)

CaptainMudd

August 26th, 2012
8:09 pm

@GameChanger……Overall I think Mr. Uggla has played ‘a good’ second base for Atl.

Tomahawk Mafia

August 26th, 2012
8:09 pm

I love it when Bourn gets on base with a walk. Obviously something he should do with more regularity.

Animus

August 26th, 2012
8:10 pm

2-0 good pitch to run on Mr. Bourn.

Sundrop Kid

August 26th, 2012
8:10 pm

Six “Thanks” to DOB in the first few minutes. Anybody else want to go ahead and do it to get it out of your system. Looks like one is not sufficient. Everybody has to have their name attached to it. That’s about as immature and silly as the “first” YOU all complain about! That’s his dang job, he gets paid well for it, and it is EXPECTED of him!

cabravesfan

August 26th, 2012
8:10 pm

Kat-

And folks wonder why I would not want to leave :)

Bat Masterson

August 26th, 2012
8:10 pm

Kat_

Counting on a win today. You’re the lucky charm.

phil

August 26th, 2012
8:11 pm

2-0 and he swings, after he walked bourn…..sigh.

VaBravesFan

August 26th, 2012
8:11 pm

Uggla is turning into Chone Figgins in terms of falling off a cliff. If he continues to struggle like he’s doing now into 2013 the organization really has to considering cutting there losses.

Uggla is a average defender at best and hitting 206 or whatever. He’s not even slugging 400 or anywhere near his normal homerun numbers. He’s walking way more than normal and striking out more than anyone in the game. It’s very alarming to me going forward and thinking about the next 3 seasons.

Cause right now the only thing that is for sure with him that he’ll stay healthy and play just about every game. But that’s it. Can’t even use the ole “he’ll mash 30+ homers a seasons” line anymore either.

Bat Masterson

August 26th, 2012
8:11 pm

Oh wait, southern Calfornia

Never mind, Kat

George

August 26th, 2012
8:12 pm

Well outta here for the game. Hey VJ I really try to toe the line and be a good guy, but I really want to make win win the first round of playoffs[ I don't mean the 1 of oneI mean the 3 of 5 ] and to do that FREDI is not the answer, he is a loser.

CaptainMudd

August 26th, 2012
8:12 pm

36….nice sb

The A Bomb

August 26th, 2012
8:12 pm

Hit and run! Wow!

UGA football fans

August 26th, 2012
8:12 pm

facebook.com/ugafootballfans

Tomahawk Mafia

August 26th, 2012
8:13 pm

That weak pop on a 2-0 count is really irritating especially after Bourn had walked and worked a good at bat.

The A Bomb

August 26th, 2012
8:13 pm

Gonzalez must’ve visited Barnes and Noble last night looking for baseball books. Well done!

Bat Masterson

August 26th, 2012
8:14 pm

Thanks again, David!

VaBravesFan

August 26th, 2012
8:14 pm

Yeah Johnson shouldn’t have been swinging 2-0…

The A Bomb

August 26th, 2012
8:14 pm

HEYWARD SUCKS! NO FUTURE!

Bravefaninok

August 26th, 2012
8:14 pm

Nice hitting J-Heyyyyyyyy!

phil

August 26th, 2012
8:14 pm

Heyward with a fine, fine at bat….

No DP, please.

CaptainMudd

August 26th, 2012
8:14 pm

@Sundrop Kid……Thank you also for our contribution–and, you do NOT get paid well!

The A Bomb

August 26th, 2012
8:15 pm

Tomahawk Mafia

August 26th, 2012
8:15 pm

I would like to see Heyward run in this situation.

Animus

August 26th, 2012
8:16 pm

Heyward needs to go – don’t understand not sending him.

haggard

August 26th, 2012
8:16 pm

David O’Brien

Thanks for the new goods. Guess I’m number seven, Sundrop. Call me immature.

VaBravesFan

August 26th, 2012
8:16 pm

Guys are being aggressive on the bases tonight

phil

August 26th, 2012
8:16 pm

eddie57

August 26th, 2012
8:16 pm

Until Fredi sits Ugglier for more than 1 game in a row everything he says is just his normal BS. I’m sure he’ll pinch hit his baby boy Danny so that he can keep his strikeout streak going.

phil

August 26th, 2012
8:17 pm

Enter your comments here

Hmmmm

August 26th, 2012
8:17 pm

if they can’t score here they missed a huge opportunity

The A Bomb

August 26th, 2012
8:17 pm

CONFIRMED. Robotzalez did buy some books on baseball. Well done.

Venice Jim

August 26th, 2012
8:17 pm

Let’s go, Marteennn…

njbraves

August 26th, 2012
8:17 pm

Have to score here.

Animus

August 26th, 2012
8:17 pm

Now I understand why Fredi is batting Prado 5th tonight – wanted to give him a shot at 4 quick RBI’s :lol:

Trader Jack

August 26th, 2012
8:17 pm

His first inning troubles continue, go for the kill boys

The A Bomb

August 26th, 2012
8:17 pm

Of course he’ll probably consider pinch hitting Uggla here.

phil

August 26th, 2012
8:18 pm

DP prado up…..sigh.

Bat Masterson

August 26th, 2012
8:18 pm

Sundrop is more lemon drop

Bitter bitter

BFChris27

August 26th, 2012
8:18 pm

Marteeeeeeeeeeeeeen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Venice Jim

August 26th, 2012
8:18 pm

Quasi-acceptable…

Animus

August 26th, 2012
8:18 pm

Hey – no DP this time! Got a run.

phil

August 26th, 2012
8:18 pm

I swear he tried to hit into one……

And now mac….sigh.

VaBravesFan

August 26th, 2012
8:19 pm

Prado scares the hell outta me everytime there is a runner on 1st and less than 2 outs.

Brava

August 26th, 2012
8:19 pm

Thank you, DOB.

The A Bomb

August 26th, 2012
8:20 pm

Hate to hear about cortisone shots. Not a good path for treatment.

Animus

August 26th, 2012
8:20 pm

Prado can steal too if he wants to!

Bravefaninok

August 26th, 2012
8:20 pm

Thanks DOB and Sundrop

CaptainMudd

August 26th, 2012
8:20 pm

Prime Time……Eye In the Sky….Big MAC!!!

BFChris27

August 26th, 2012
8:21 pm

McCann!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Venice Jim

August 26th, 2012
8:21 pm

Animus

August 26th, 2012
8:21 pm

Gonna look like a line drive to the wall in the scorebook :)

Hmmmm

August 26th, 2012
8:21 pm

Mac needs things like that to drop in, good for him

phil

August 26th, 2012
8:21 pm

A miracle…..

2-0. We’ll take it.

VaBravesFan

August 26th, 2012
8:21 pm

Little Flair! Lol

J-MAN

August 26th, 2012
8:21 pm

Well McCann got lucky but we will take it reguardless.

Bat Masterson

August 26th, 2012
8:21 pm

Atta boy, Heap. Crushed

The A Bomb

August 26th, 2012
8:21 pm

Maybe Francisco can deliver an early killshot here.

phil

August 26th, 2012
8:22 pm

And now the Flabster….

Citi F. Jones

August 26th, 2012
8:22 pm

- Uggla on a bus to Gwinnet as we speak.
- Linsecum faltering.
- 2 early runs.

Tomahawk Mafia

August 26th, 2012
8:22 pm

Another run would be awesome.

VaBravesFan

August 26th, 2012
8:23 pm

Hudson has struggled in the 1st inning lately as well.

Larry

August 26th, 2012
8:23 pm

Rest a “slumping” Uggla?

I think it is now safe to refer to him as a “slumped” Uggla.

phil

August 26th, 2012
8:23 pm

That was a pathetic AB there….

Great inning overall though.

Maybe Hudson won’t get shelled tonight.

Tomahawk Mafia

August 26th, 2012
8:23 pm

Francisco seems to be struggling at the plate again. He is pretty much an automatic K.

Hmmmm

August 26th, 2012
8:23 pm

Ok Huddy, 1-2-3 first inning. None of that nonsense you did in the first against the Nats after you were spotted a 1-0 lead

The A Bomb

August 26th, 2012
8:24 pm

You really want more of THAT next season?

Probably the know-it-all TRADE HEYWARD CROWD. In fact, I’m sure of it. Geniuses.

Tomahawk Mafia

August 26th, 2012
8:24 pm

The 2-0 score should be a nice cushion for the inevitable first inning struggles by Tim Hudson.

T-Dawg

August 26th, 2012
8:26 pm

Love McCann but there is no reason for him to be playing with that bum shoulder. He couldn’t even keep both hands on the bat with that swing. DL him now so he can get some rest.

VaBravesFan

August 26th, 2012
8:26 pm

Just bat Uggla 8th the rest of the season.

Animus

August 26th, 2012
8:26 pm

32 pitches for the Freak – like to see Huddy get out of here w/12 or less. Looks good so far.

J-MAN

August 26th, 2012
8:26 pm

Gonzalez’s best managerial job this season…….keeping Uggla out of the game.

Animus

August 26th, 2012
8:28 pm

Jhey and the sun – not a good combo for the next hour or two. Good play though :)

Citi F. Jones

August 26th, 2012
8:28 pm

2 flies against a sinker ball pitcher…. hmmm

M.V.P.Heyward

August 26th, 2012
8:28 pm

Good Job, Huddy!

The A Bomb

August 26th, 2012
8:28 pm

Personally I welcome the break and am enjoying our All-Star 2B back at home where he belongs.

Tomahawk Mafia

August 26th, 2012
8:28 pm

Hey look. No problems for Hudson in the first inning. An easy inning gets Lincecum right back out on the mound.

VaBravesFan

August 26th, 2012
8:28 pm

I’m more worried about McCann making it worse and needing surgery in the offseason and possibly missing time in 2013. Oh well kinda seems like 13′ will be his last season here. No way I’d give him a long term deal anymore unless its like 4 years 40 million…

Bravefaninok

August 26th, 2012
8:28 pm

7 pitch first inning….Nice work Huddy!!!!!!

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