Braves bench slumping Uggla

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had said recently he would pick his spots where he might sit struggling second baseman Dan Uggla. But that plan changed as the Braves entered September. Gonzalez told Uggla Saturday he plans to use him only in a part-time role.

Martin Prado will start at second base for the foreseeable future, with Uggla backing him up. Jeff Baker and Tyler Pastornicky will be options as well.

“He just said something like ‘We’ve got to make a change and I don’t know how much playing time you’re going to get for these next 29 games,’” said Uggla, who sat in consecutive games for the first time all season on Monday. “And that was about it.’”

Uggla didn’t like it. He doesn’t like it when Gonzalez gives him a normal day of rest, like he did only twice in the Braves’ first 97 games this season. But Uggla, who has been out of the lineup four times in the past 12 games, has hit only .152 (37-for-243) in his past 73 games. His .208 batting average on the season is worst in the National League among every-day players.

“I understand what my numbers are,” Uggla said. “I’m not blind to any of that, but at the same time, I’m part of the team that got us to where we’re at right now. Basically numbers don’t mean anything to me, especially in September. But some people don’t see it that way. Do I agree with it? No. But it’s not my call. I don’t make out the lineup. All I can do is pull for my teammates and do what I can when I get an opportunity.”

Uggla voiced his concern to Gonzalez on Saturday, which Gonzalez understood. But the Braves manager said this was a decision he had to make for the team, as uncomfortable as it is.

“It’s not a doghouse situation,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a situation where you feel like you need to do something for the team and for the name on the front of the uniform. And it’s not easy because of the relationship.”

Gonzalez has managed Uggla for six seasons, including the better part of four with Miami, before Uggla was traded to Atlanta and signed a five-year $62 million extension. Uggla said he respected the fact that Gonzalez was up front with him about the change.

“We’re all men in here,” Uggla said. “One of the things about baseball, people kind of (talk) around subjects and try to tiptoe around certain areas of the game. The only thing we can ask for is if somebody is honest with you and straight up.”

Gonzalez didn’t rule out a return to the lineup for Uggla, but it’s clear he would have to earn his way back into an every-day role.

“I wouldn’t call it a permanent thing,” Gonzalez said. “You just never know. But I really feel that the course of this next five weeks, four weeks, he’s going to come up big for us, somewhere down the road.”

When asked how the Braves would handle Uggla’s situation going into next season, Gonzalez said: “Next year is next year. I might not even be around for next year. I don’t even look that far ahead. Worry about next year next year. If we make it in the postseason and we get far and we hoist a trophy or a flag, there’s going to be some mending of fences and mending of relationships, but that’s what we’ve got to do.”

65 comments Add your comment

1=2

September 3rd, 2012
2:18 pm

Feel it for Uggla but something had to be done. At some point, Uggla is going to come up big for the Bravo’s this season.

larry dothan al

September 3rd, 2012
2:20 pm

well it time.

Bama Mike

September 3rd, 2012
2:20 pm

Have to agree with Ugga. He did get us here. I would have kept in the lineup for the remander of season.

renegade#1

September 3rd, 2012
2:22 pm

I could have been first but didn’t want to upset the crybabies

polskidawg

September 3rd, 2012
2:36 pm

I feel bad for Uggla because he’s they type of guy who wants to do well for his team and teammates. However, his performance necessitates the move. Actually. I won’t be surprised if the Braves attempt to move him this off-season, similar to Lowe this last off-season.

Marshall

September 3rd, 2012
2:38 pm

Everybody has been giving Fredi a hard time…well, he’s certainly shown some guts with this move

WTFredi???

September 3rd, 2012
2:40 pm

Wow. Did Fredi find his cojones? Or maybe Fredi is more worried about feeding his family than making Danny Boy happy. Either way, it is the right move. The players need a lineup of guys they feel like they can count on, and Uggla had seemingly lost the trust of his team. You have to get those guys out of the lineup, asap.

Tampa Gator

September 3rd, 2012
3:00 pm

BravesFaninWis……is the happiest person in the world this morning. No…I take that back…..BravesFaninWis…..does not have a single “happy” emotion in his body. Fact is, he is probably more miserable this morning….knowing he can’t rip Uggla and the Braves 5,000 times today.

But….this is the right thing to do right now. Johnson in LF and Prado at 2B are much better options for scoring runs on a consistent basis down the stretch….and Gonzalez realizes his job is on the line this September. No fold will be allowed by Braves management…or fans….this time.

Tampa Gator

September 3rd, 2012
3:03 pm

Medlen looks a lot like Greg Maddux right now….in his prime.

Tampa Gator

September 3rd, 2012
3:03 pm

Medlen looks a lot like Greg Maddux right now….in his prime.

Mikey

September 3rd, 2012
3:28 pm

The only place Uggla got the Braves is where they currently stand, second place 6.5 games behind the Nats. He was brought to the Braves and paid above market value for one reason, to be the Braves right-handed, power hitting, RBI, clean-up hitter which he has not done

Spud

September 3rd, 2012
3:40 pm

Carroll, what is Jack Wilson’s status with the Braves? He was released on August 31, but was in uniform wearing a helmet in last night’s game!
Hope Uggla gets it together. if the Braves trade him in the off season, that will be a lot of turnover with loss of Chipper and Bourn.

Tim Fitz-Simons

September 3rd, 2012
3:46 pm

I understand him being upset, but he’s had 2 months to “work it out”. He had no problem bringing up the (few) key hits he’s had in the last couple of weeks, but what about the game he lost us when he couldn’t get the ball out of his glove? You’re making 10 million a year! Quit whining. Produce or move over. Hope he does come around.

George Washington

September 3rd, 2012
4:01 pm

Instead of being upset, uggla needs to change his thought process about hitting a baseball. This decision by the manager (still think fredi g. is all the Braves can afford) is at least a month late. There is very little wiggle room in the race for the wildcard spot. fredi g. gave away the division by believing in his buddy too long.

Ken Stallings

September 3rd, 2012
4:06 pm

Hmmm …

Interesting comments from Uggla. Did he really get the team where they are (in terms of a positive contribution)? To be honest, if Uggla was standing on 20-25 homers, 75-80 RBI, .255 BA, .380 OBA, .510 slugging average, then the Braves could be in first place in the NL East with the best record in baseball.

Uggla phrased it as a question and left his answer out of it. So, perhaps it is the right question, but without a positive answer. The answer may well be negative for him! The Braves made him the highest paid second baseman in baseball and Uggla has not delivered. The blame is entirely on him.

The answer is entirely on him also. Let’s hope it is a positive one!

chas

September 3rd, 2012
4:17 pm

uggla is right, he got the braves where they are, 6 GAMES BEHIND, if he had played as he was paid, the braves would be ahead. may he sit and rest in peace

chas

September 3rd, 2012
4:17 pm

uggla is right, he got the braves where they are, 6 GAMES BEHIND, if he had played as he was paid, the braves would be ahead. may he sit and rest in peace

chas

September 3rd, 2012
4:17 pm

uggla is right, he got the braves where they are, 6 GAMES BEHIND, if he had played as he was paid, the braves would be ahead. may he sit and rest in peace

chas

September 3rd, 2012
4:18 pm

uggla is right, he got the braves where they are, 6 GAMES BEHIND, if he had played as he was paid, the braves would be ahead. may he sit and rest in peace.

chas

September 3rd, 2012
4:18 pm

uggla is right, he got the braves where they are, 6 GAMES BEHIND, if he had played as he was paid, the braves would be ahead. may he sit and rest in peace.

TarHeel 1We have a playoff team but no manage

September 3rd, 2012
4:22 pm

Uggla has become a all or nothing hitter , maybe now he will try to make more contact when he is in the lineup

John Ellison

September 3rd, 2012
4:22 pm

To Dan Uggla: You’re striking out and the opposing pitchers have your number. Stop swinging for the fences on every swing!

Max Sizemore

September 3rd, 2012
4:22 pm

Spud, Wilson was designated for assignment, which means he is immediately removed from the club’s 40-man roster. This gives the club 10 days to decide what to do with the player while freeing up a roster spot for another transaction, if needed. After designating a player for assignment, the club must either (a) return the player to the 40-man roster within 10 days from the date of designation, or (b) make one of the following contractual moves:

Place the player on waivers (which can only be done within the first 7 days of the 10-day period)
Trade the player
Release the player

bulldogbubba

September 3rd, 2012
4:37 pm

@ Spud – Wondered the same thing when I saw Jack Wilson in uniform celebrating Chippers homerun.I f he was released why is he even in the dugout? Did they resign him for the remainder of the season? Weird.

Don

September 3rd, 2012
4:39 pm

Uggla has not hit hit for an average and Uggla hasnt hit the HRs like he usually does only 4 since June 10. In fact if you take Uggla 34 game hitting streak away Uggla is batting under .200 as a Brave for both last season and this season. So the question for debate is has Uggla just lost it and is it really a slump or is this gonna be his normal play from here on.

Bronke

September 3rd, 2012
4:48 pm

Hey Dan, say hello to your new best friend, the BENCH. May you comfort each other in troubled times and watch as Prado and company get it done!

Amber Girl

September 3rd, 2012
4:54 pm

Hello Mr Bronke Your Jane is here with good news. BRAVES WIN!!!

Amber Girl

September 3rd, 2012
4:54 pm

Hello Mr Bronke Your Jane is here with good news. BRAVES WIN!!!

Geddy Lifeson

September 3rd, 2012
4:59 pm

It’s too bad that it had to come down to this and I feel for Uggla. But it’s been a long time coming. It’s the same across the board whether you’re playing pro ball or working at jiffy lube. If you aint getting it done then you’ve got to go. The Braves are as strong as their weakest link……

John w

September 3rd, 2012
5:01 pm

This should have been done weeks ago!! Quit whining Uggla and start hitting when you get a chance. Who do you think you are questioning this move? Are you to stupid to see you’re dead last in the league in average? Just sit your grossly over paid ass on the bench and shut up!!

RBI

September 3rd, 2012
5:10 pm

I do not feel bad for Uggla. He still gets paid! This should have happened weeks ago.

Amber Girl

September 3rd, 2012
5:11 pm

Y’all are to mean to Mr. Uggla. He is trying. Give him a break.

Mark (another one)

September 3rd, 2012
5:20 pm

It bothers me how people make this a personal issue. It is only personal for Uggla and Fredi. Fredi is doing what he believes is best for the team. As the manager, Fredi needs to play the hot players now. 29 games is basically a month.

Uggla will work is tail off (as usual) to get back in the lineup, and maybe he’ll get a chance as a pinch hitter. The Braves and Uggla want him to perform like his old self.

Carroll Rogers

September 3rd, 2012
5:32 pm

Spud, I’m guessing you saw Jeff Baker, who’s wearing No. 2. Wilson, who used to wear No. 2, was released.

Blob Horner

September 3rd, 2012
6:03 pm

Dan’sperformance drop-off, outside of his 33 game hitting streak, has been consistently bad since the start of PED testing, beginning with the second half of his last year in Miami. If Dan had not been such a great minor league prospect, or if he was bulked up like the Hulk, or if his head was out of proportion to the rest of his body, I might just wonder if ole Dan hadn’t been hitting the juice. If that is the case, then Dan’s performance now is not the aberration, the 30 homer years are. Maybe if we trade him to KC, then he can fly under the radar for a year like Melkey did. If we can’t get rid of him, then we have to hope he goes back on the juice, plays well again, or gets suspended multiple times, voiding his contract.

alanfalcon

September 3rd, 2012
6:15 pm

The real problem here is the time it took in coming to this decision and the number of games it had to cost the team for various reasons, a real manager would have taken steps well before now so as to get him straighten out and ready for the seasons end.

Billy

September 3rd, 2012
6:47 pm

Now, sit McCann

cornjolio

September 3rd, 2012
6:51 pm

If we had kept Omar Infante we’d be a lot closer to 1st place than we are now.

It was Fredi that pushed for the Infante for Uggla trade, and now the Braves are STUCK with Uggla’s contract and sorry batting average another 3 years.

Lasko

September 3rd, 2012
6:53 pm

This reminds me of AJ had JF for sure. Keep swinging the same way no matter how bad you suck!
How bout just making contact and stop trying to go long EVERY PITCH!!!

Wish List

September 3rd, 2012
6:54 pm

Unload Uggla first; then McCann …

RGP

September 3rd, 2012
7:26 pm

Thanks for waking up FG and putting Prado at second instead of Uggla. Johnson has worked well in left also or Constanza. Ross has added some extra hitting as well.

Brava

September 3rd, 2012
7:26 pm

I feel bad for Uggla because it’s obvious how hard he tries, but he’s going to have to revamp his approach at the plate. The try for the fences, helicopter swing isn’t cutting it. I have faith that he’ll come back ready for next season, but just don’t think it will happen down the stretch this season.

I know this was a very tough thing for Fredi to do, but the team is bigger than Uggla and both of them know that. As some have pointed out, this decision should have been made earlier, but I still think the Braves have a good chance to make the post-season.

Holding out on Uggla, and McCann, so long probably has cost the Braves any hope of winning the division, but hopefully they’ll win the wildcard playoff game and never look back. Oh, and I might add Hanson to the mix. We have better pitching options in Sheets, Delgado or Teheran.

JohnDrake6

September 3rd, 2012
7:32 pm

I feel for Dan, but I agree with the decision.

I should freely acknowledge that I know nothing about hitting at any level, let alone the majors, but it does seem apparent that Dan has to change his approach at the plate, whether it’s choking up and swinging for contact instead of home runs, or lessening the exagerated extent to which he’s pulling off the ball, or some other modification.

But. I can also understand what an existential crisis it would be for a hitter to contemplate a fundamental change to an approach that has been so successful until now. Especially when there’s no guarantee that a change will bring better results: you might lose what you had with nothing to show for it and never be able to find your way back.

Baseball success is evanescent. Once the lightning has escaped from the bottle, you may never get it back in there, just ask Dizzy Dean, or Tim Lincecum.

Those considerations don’t change my endorsement of Dan’s benching, nor did they temper my frustration with the deja vu of a dozen rally-blunting pop-ups, but I can imagine how the man must feel and I hope for his –and the team’s– sake, he finds a way out of his ordeal in time to help the Braves make a post-season run. When Dan is hitting the team can be formidable.

Amber Girl

September 3rd, 2012
7:35 pm

I disagree Brava but I respect your opinion.

JohnDrake6

September 3rd, 2012
7:37 pm

One qualification to my earlier comments: while baseball success is evanescent, hard work isn’t and I hope everyone can acknowledge the Pete Rose-level effort Dan has still given us with his baserunning and fielding.

Brava

September 3rd, 2012
8:16 pm

Thank you, Amber Girl. What do you disagree with?

georgiavol

September 3rd, 2012
8:25 pm

Dan is a great guy, but he has been stealing money for two years now. Not sure why he showed the attitude, as he has sucked for the whole year. And Fredi is right, he may not be around next year. In fact, if the Braves blow it again this year and don’t make the playoffs, he is out.

Teddy B

September 3rd, 2012
9:24 pm

Hopefully Danny Boy lays off the weights while he’s riding the pine, his increased bulk is giving him trouble swinging the bat just like J-Hey at the start of last season. You aren’t flexible enough to adjust to an incoming pitch with tree trunk arms like that!! That is the reason he’s steadily got worse hitting a ball, its because he’s steadily pumped his arms up! They look like gigantic sausages or inflatable balloons not real arms! Just stop working out a bit and let them deflate into regular sized arms Dan.

Spud

September 4th, 2012
12:13 am

Carroll, thank you for the reply! If you look at a replay of Chipper’s HR on Sunday night, there is a guy wearing number 2 with Wilson on it! Was Baker wearing Wilson’s jersey? So if number 2 hit a single, who’s on first?

Nevada Roy

September 4th, 2012
1:07 am

The 3-7 batting postions are counted to drive in runs. With 3-regular lefties the opposing teams have been aligning their LH pitchers against the Braves knowing they can pitch around Chipper if he’s playing and Uggla is no threat. With Prado batting somewhere in the 3-7 slots it is a much stronger line-up.

Nevada Roy

September 4th, 2012
1:11 am

“If you look at a replay of Chipper’s HR on Sunday night, there is a guy wearing number 2 with Wilson on it!” That was a replay of Chipper’s walk-off homer in the month of May when Wilson was on the team. When Chipper hits a walk-off homer in the 7th-game of the World Series in October (let’s hope) let them replay May and September ones.

Spud

September 4th, 2012
1:47 am

Nevada Roy, you and Carroll are correct! Baker was wearing number 2 on Sunday night. The Wilson shot had to have a replay shown on TV of the May game. Thanks for clearing that up!
Let’s hope Dan gets it together. Glad the Braves ended up keeping Prado. I did not want to see him traded away.

CHOKE ARTISTS

September 4th, 2012
4:14 am

” I might not even be around for next year.”

You got that right, Fredi!!!!

JonD

September 4th, 2012
4:53 am

Good call by Gonzalez. It’s tough to sit somebody making that kind of money, but it’s the right call and he’ll get the respect of his team. Uggla hasn’t done much to get the team where they are by batting .152 in the last 73 games. Put the best players in the lineup and prepare fur the playoff push.

Disbott3000

September 4th, 2012
9:14 am

There have been a few moments when Uggla has helped the team this season with his bat, but they have been too few and far between. Uggla says he knows the number, then he, if he’s being honest with himself, cannot argue with this decision. No one is promised a position forever, it has to be earned and his numbers do not earn someone a starting position on a playoff contender. It may hurt his feelings to hear it, but the Braves have probably won far more games this season despite him than because of him.

Work on that hideous swing and call us when you’re hitting again, ’cause we’d love to have the Uggla we were promised. We just can’t keep watching the Uggla we received.

Richard

September 4th, 2012
9:18 am

Sucks for Dan, but it’s the right move. I really want him to be successful, because he’s a stand up guy and always tells it like it is. I hope he gets it figured out this offseason.

Dan Uggla's Swing

September 4th, 2012
1:16 pm

But I am so strong, I have to swing so hard! Hard for me to respect a guy who says the numbers dont mean anything to him. Sounds like he is trying to ignore the fact that albeit for about 50-75 games in two seasons he has failed at coming close to his own average stats.

Dan Kolb

September 4th, 2012
6:59 pm

I’ve always felt that the big, multi-year contract for Uggla was a mistake. We need some additional batting power and batting .159 in the last 73 ballgames just won’t cut it now…..not in September.

BRAVELESS

September 4th, 2012
9:35 pm

The benching of Uggla was far overdue. I just watch an interview with him where he claim he was blind sided by the move. This prove that he is on an ego trip at the expense of the Braves and the Brave fans.

BRAVELESS

September 4th, 2012
9:35 pm

The benching of Uggla was far overdue. I just watch an interview with him where he claim he was blind sided by the move. This prove that he is on an ego trip at the expense of the Braves and the Brave fans.

ab initio

September 4th, 2012
9:47 pm

“I understand what my numbers are,” Uggla said. “I’m not blind to any of that, but at the same time, I’m part of the team that got us to where we’re at right now. Basically numbers don’t mean anything to me, especially in September. But some people don’t see it that way. Do I agree with it? No. But it’s not my call. I don’t make out the lineup. All I can do is pull for my teammates and do what I can when I get an opportunity.”

This is the problem with Uggla.

Look, ya big lug, if you want to pull for your teammates, then this is the perfect time to do so. You are a one-man wrecking crew as far as killing this team’s offense. I understand that in order for you to be effective you have to have bats around you where you get better pitches to hit. The problem is that you are swinging and whiffing at EVERYTHING!

So, sit down. Have a Coke and a smile, and shut the hell up and learn from this.

Pale Rider

September 4th, 2012
10:22 pm

If smUGGLA wasn’t gone already, he is toast now- based on his interview comments- he is not about this team- he is about Dan- batting a league worst- he somehow thinks he should still be in the lineup everyday (did he go to Penn State). Time to say goodbye to Dan- get out of Atlanta and we don’t want to see you back.

Pale Rider

September 4th, 2012
10:26 pm

Even on a pinch hit- he still swings for the fences- five runs behind- Hey Dan, we need a base-runner pal. Oh- never mind- you’re too rich and hard-headed- just get out.

wesley wood

September 5th, 2012
12:28 am

still is better than mark lemke. Everybody forgets the position of second base has never really been a productive one for the braves…. I think uggla does need to reevaluate his game but he has still out produced any other second baseman in the last 30 years for the braves…. but i think this is more of a time out thing. Unless fransico is put at 3B and chipper goes to the outfield this is a bad move for the long term. Without Uggla we may make the playoffs but we are not winning anything in the playoffs period. I think freddi understands this and this is the perfect time to make a point to Uggla then get him back in the game..

brave braverson

September 5th, 2012
3:05 am

not sure if anyone else (including the braves organization) has actually checked the numbers on their own website, but Uggla is tied with prado for 4th in runs scored, tied with bourn for 4th in doubles, and tied with prado for 3rd in Rbis. batting average and ops arent always an accurate representation of a player. he hits when it matters. i feel much better with him batting than janish or reed johnson when runners are on. maybe im alone in this

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