MIAMI -- When Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez benched struggling second baseman Dan Uggla earlier this month, Uggla was understandably disappointed.
At the time, Uggla's batting average had dipped to .208. Since then, though, he has turned things around and was batting .217 entering Tuesday's game against the Marlins.
"He's seeing signs, and it's a good time," Gonzalez said. "He's heating up at the right time. Now we need to continue that."
Over his last 11 games entering Tuesday, Uggla is hitting .342 (13-for-38) with two homers, four doubles, seven RBIs and eight walks, giving the Braves the type of production they expect from the three-time All-Star.
"He's one of those guys that when he gets hot, he can be hot for a long time," Gonzalez said.
The Braves hope that's the case as they try to catch the Nationals in the National League East and avoid a one-game playoff as one of the NL Wild Card teams. The Braves gained a half-game on the Nats on Monday thanks in part to Uggla's three-RBI night, and they hope he can keep it up for the remainder of the series against his former team. Thirteen of Uggla's 71 RBIs this season have some against the Marlins -- his most against any club.
"He's really hurt his former team, mostly with the home run," pitcher Tim Hudson said. "It's great to see it. He's a guy we're going to need to lean on some the last couple weeks and in the playoffs. If we can get him hot, it's going to very much help out offense."
While Uggla has given the Braves a boost with his bat, Gonzalez also praised the second baseman for his glove -- a part of Uggla's game that has earned him a bad reputation at times. On Monday, Uggla made a few key plays on defense, including one in the eighth when he made a sliding stop in shallow right field to get Bryan Petersen at first to end the inning, strand two runners and preserve a two-run lead.
"He's not as bad as people say he is," Gonzalez said. "He got a bad reputation in that All-Star Game when he made three errors. He may not win a Gold Glove, but he's very steady."