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Situation at second base still unclear for Braves

Situation at second base still unclear for Braves

ATLANTA -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez did not want to use the term "benched" in reference to Dan Uggla, who was out of the starting lineup for the third time in less than a week on Monday. But at the same time, he was not willing to specify his plans for the second base position.

"I don't even want to address that situation there," Gonzalez said. "We'll just go with whatever we think gives us our best chance and go from there."

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Gonzalez indicated Uggla might be back in the lineup on Tuesday. But there is growing reason to wonder how much longer he will regularly be placed in Atlanta's lineup. The Braves currently have the option to replace him with switch-hitter Ramiro Pena and right-handed hitter Tyler Pastornicky.

While some of Atlanta's players have privately suggested that they believe Pastornicky would be a productive replacement for Uggla, there is a chance the Braves could soon promote Tommy La Stella, who has continued to show his offensive talents while hitting .313 with a .372 on-base percentage through 27 games with Triple-A Gwinnett.

But before promoting La Stella to serve as their starting second baseman, the Braves might have to decide if they are willing to eat the approximate $24 million Uggla is owed through the end of the 2015 season.

While the Braves might be comfortable with the financial aspects of this potential decision, they they are less excited about the prospect of continuing to play Uggla on an everyday basis with the hope that he will escape the woes that have plagued him over the past 23 months.

Uggla has batted .186 with 35 home runs and a .657 OPS in 265 games dating back to June 1, 2012. He showed some promise as he hit .237 through his first 16 games. But he has recorded five hits (all singles) and struck out 13 times in the 41 at-bats that have followed.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Joe Morgan 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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