Uggla reacts to being removed from a starting role
One day later, it was easier to understand why Dan Uggla was so upset on Sunday. It was not simply because he was not given a chance to halt his career-long struggles against Cole Hamels. It had much more to do with the fact that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had just informed him that he was not sure how much he would play over the remainder of the season.
Uggla vented his frustrations toward Gonzalez on Sunday and then spoke to MLB.com about the matter. When he was not in the lineup again for Monday afternoon’s game against the Rockies, he provided some more information about the meeting.
“He didn’t really explain anything to me,” Uggla said. “He just said we need to make a change and I do not know how much playing time you are going to get (the rest of the season).”
Uggla voiced his displeasure in a vociferous manner while meeting with Gonzalez on Sunday afternoon.
“I think he took it the right way,” Gonzalez said. “Obviously it’s uncomfortable and it’s hard, especially with the relationship I have with him. You want your players to be upset if they are not in there. But knowing him going through September, he’s either going to have a big at-bat when he pinch hits. Or we’re going to put him in a game and he’s going to have a big game that gets us to the postseason.”
Gonzalez has shown patience with Uggla, who has batted .152 with a .276 slugging percentage in his past 73 games. But it appears he plans to utilize Martin Prado as his regular second baseman for the remainder of the season. Jose Constanza could play left field against right-handed starters. Reed Johnson, who had three hits in Sunday’s win over the Phillies, could play left field when the opposing team is starting a left-handed pitcher.
“It’s not a doghouse situation,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a situation where you feel you have to do something for the team. It’s hard because of the relationship.”
When the Braves had a chance to acquire Uggla in November 2010, it was Gonzalez who gave a ringing endorsement. He had served as the veteran second baseman’s manager with the Marlins from 2007-2010. This relationship likely led him to be more patient with Uggla than he would have been with other players in a similar situation.
Gonzalez admitted it was also tough to pull Uggla back from the on-deck circle after planning to pinch-hit him before the Phillies brought in right-handed closer Jonathan Papelbon on Friday night. This led the Braves to counter with left-handed hitter Lyle Overbay, who has had some success against Papelbon.
“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 are now. Numbers do not mean anything to me in September. Some people don’t see it that way. Do I agree with it? No. But it’s not my call. All I can do is pull for my teammates and do what I can when I get an opportunity.”
McCann and Chipper rest: Brian McCann was out of the lineup again on Monday as he continued to gain the necessary rest after getting a second cortisone shot in his right shoulder on Saturday night. McCann, who could return to action on Tuesday, also received an injection on Aug. 7…Chipper Jones also rested his 40-year-old legs on Monday afternoon. This was the plan before he hit a walk-off three-run homer in Sunday’s five-run ninth inning against the Phillies.