Braves to be selective with Uggla's starts

Braves to be selective with Uggla's starts

Braves to be selective with Uggla's starts
SAN FRANCISCO -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has provided Dan Uggla time to work through his offensive struggles as they have mounted over the past three months. But after watching his team have a late-season collapse last year, Gonzalez will not be as patient down the stretch this year.

Instead of continuing to put Uggla in the starting lineup on a daily basis with the hope that he will turn things around, Gonzalez will pay closer attention to matchups over the next few weeks. Such was the case Sunday night, when he did not put Uggla in the lineup to face Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum.

Uggla has gone hitless in 10 at-bats with six strikeouts in his career against Lincecum.

"Why keep running him out there?" Gonzalez said. "That does not do him any good and it does not do us any good. So we're going to pick our spots with him a little bit."

Uggla will likely be back in the lineup Monday when the Padres start Casey Kelly, who will be making his Major League debut.

It appeared Uggla might be heading in the right direction when he recorded a pair of multiple-hit games in a three-game series against the Phillies in early August. But the veteran second baseman has batted .137 with three home runs and a .353 slugging percentage in the 16 games that have followed.

Uggla has batted .143 with five home runs and a .250 slugging percentage in the 68 games he has played since hitting a pair of home runs in a four-hit game June 5. The batting average and slugging percentage stand as the lowest marks compiled by any qualified Major League players during that span.

After struggling through the first three months last year, Uggla produced a stunning 33-game hitting streak and compiled his fifth consecutive 30-homer season.

"We need to get him straight," Gonzalez said. "That's a big bat. [Braves hitting coach Greg Walker] feels like we can get him straight and get him going in the right direction."