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Uggla wears contacts for first time in a live game

Uggla wears contacts for first time in a live game

Uggla wears contacts for first time in a live game

MILWAUKEE -- Braves second baseman Dan Uggla is getting a new look.

When he returned to the starting lineup in Friday's series opener in Milwaukee, he was wearing contact lenses in a regular season game for the first time in his career.

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"After these two-and-a-half months of not being able to swing at pitches or ducking out of the way of certain pitches that I thought were closer to me than they probably actually were, I needed to see what was going on," Uggla said. "I wasn't really seeing the ball good at all. It just kind of looked like a white blur coming in."

Uggla believes the contact prescription could be a night-and-day fix for his struggling offensive game, which is why he visited the team eye doctor on Thursday to have his sight tested. He had previously been diagnosed with an astigmatism in Spring Training, but Uggla said he didn't take the right approach to wearing contacts at the time.

"I thought I'd instantly be able to see twice as well as I could before," Uggla said. "They couldn't do all the tests that they probably needed to in spring. They couldn't dilate it, because I'd be out a whole day."

Finally, the problem became too grave to ignore any longer. He had his pupils dilated on Thursday, forcing him to miss the series finale against the Mets.

"The only reason he didn't play yesterday is because he had all these tests done, and when they dilate your eyes, it takes a while for them to kind of normalize," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We don't want to throw him out there with dilated pupils when a ball is coming at him 90 mph."

Uggla is still getting used to wearing the contacts. He said it took him several tries to get them in his eye on Friday, but he eventually took swings in batting practice with them. He said he's seeing things much clearer, but he won't know the extent of their impact until he sees in-game pitching.

"I just took some flips in the cage," Uggla said. "You can't tell like that. You can't tell the difference between bad vision and good vision with flips. You're going to see the ball good. Game time will be different."

Uggla is hoping the contacts can hold him over until the season ends, so he can hold off on LASIK eye surgery that'd hold him out of action for a few weeks.

"You've got to be able to see to play this game," Uggla said. "In most every day life, 20/25, 20/30 vision is good. In what we do, if it's not 20/15 or 20/20, then you're going to be in some trouble."

Ethan Asofsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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