ATLANTA -- So far, the concerns about Dan Uggla's defense that fans and media members expressed when the Braves gave the second baseman a five-year, $62 million contract in January have not been validated. In fact, Uggla has spent the early going of this season a defensive asset.
Uggla ranged to his left, sacrificed his body with an aggressive dive to knock down a Wilson Valdez liner in Saturday's second inning. The 31-year-old quickly rose and fired a strong throw to record the out at first base.
"That's what you're going to see," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think he's playing with the mentality that if he's not going to get a hit, then nobody else is going to get one either. That's the way you want players to be. Going on my five years with him, that's the way he plays the game."
Uggla has been a gritty competitor since introducing himself to the Major League scene in 2006. During his first couple weeks with the Braves, he has already formed a reliable double-play combo with shortstop Alex Gonzalez.
During Saturday's third inning, Gonzalez knocked down a Jimmy Rollins grounder and made a flip to Uggla, who reached to his right to make a barehanded grab before firing to first base to complete the double play.
"I think Gonzo complements him pretty well," Gonzalez said while talking about how his middle infielders have quickly bonded in their first season together.