LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Dan Uggla spent the first 11 years of his professional career with the belief that he should track as many pitches as possible during the exhibition season.
But after watching the aggressive approach Chipper Jones and Brian McCann took during Spring Training last year, the Braves' second baseman entered this year's Grapefruit League with the belief that he needs to time the fastball before worrying about getting a feel for secondary pitches.
"I'm not trying to worry about going deep into counts in the spring," Uggla said. "It took me 12 years to figure out, it might be more important to get on time with that fastball. That's what I saw Chipper and Mac doing last year. They're going up there hacking at the first or second pitch they see. They both got off to good starts. I was like, 'Man, you know what, they've got something figured out.'"
Uggla had been under the impression that to get a feel for changeups and breaking pitches, he needed to track as many pitches as possible. This led to him regularly falling behind in the count during Spring Training.
While recording four hits -- including two doubles and a homer -- in his first 13 at-bats this spring, Uggla has quickly gained comfort with his more aggressive approach.
"You're still going to see [secondary pitches] because you're not going to put every fastball in play," Uggla said. "So you're still going to go deep in some counts, draw some walks and stuff like that. That's just a more seasoned-like mentality and real game situations stuff. You're trying to do real damage with that fastball."