ATLANTA -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez stuck with his plan when he opted not to give Dan Uggla a chance to improve his troubling career statistics against the Phillies' Cole Hamels on Sunday. At the same time, he quickly learned that Uggla did not agree with this decision.
Uggla voiced his displeasure to Gonzalez before batting practice on Sunday afternoon. A short time later, he explained his position in a professional manner.
"I hit a two-run homer off [Hamels] in the last game last year to put us up," Uggla said. "It's not a numbers thing for me, especially in September. It doesn't make any sense to me at all. ... Nobody agrees with not playing. It's just because I know what I can do, especially in September when I've been there before in big-game situations, especially last year. It's frustrating, to say the least."
As Hamels was making a three-inning postseason tuneup on the final day of the 2011 season, Uggla drilled a two-run homer off his nemesis. Still, he's batting just .145 (8-for-55) with two home runs in his career against the veteran left-hander.
With that in mind, Gonzalez stuck with his plan to spend the rest of this season picking spots when he might play Uggla, who is batting .152 with a .276 slugging percentage in his past 73 games. The Braves' manager also shuffled Sunday's lineup by replacing Jason Heyward in the lineup's third spot with Chipper Jones. This is something he could continue to do when opposing teams are starting left-handers.
Heyward has earned the opportunity to hit in the third spot, batting .293 with 18 home runs and a .990 OPS in 80 games since June 2. But against left-handed pitchers during that span, Heyward is batting .225 with four home runs and a .630 OPS. Against right-handers, he has batted .349 with 14 homers and a 1.099 OPS.