ATLANTA -- For the first time in eight seasons, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez will lead a team without Dan Uggla. Atlanta cut ties with the struggling veteran second baseman, releasing him on Friday afternoon.
"I've been with him a long time -- a very long time," Gonzalez said. "I don't think he's not been in a uniform in my managerial career someplace, whether he's in the lineup, on the bench, in the clubhouse, whatever. He's always been there."
They previously parted ways when the Marlins fired Gonzalez during the 2010 season, but they were quickly reunited as Braves for the '11 season. Gonzalez has witnessed Uggla decline from his All-Star days in Miami to one who Atlanta will pay an approximate $18.5 million, despite not being on the roster.
"It does, and it doesn't, because you see guys suffer," Gonzalez said when asked if Uggla's release saddened him. "You see guys that care about winning and losing, and he wasn't part of it. It doesn't make it harder. It is what it is, and I think it's good for both parties. And that's it."
Although they experienced an unfortunate end to their days on the same team, Gonzalez is thankful for the years he spent managing Uggla.
"That's something that I will cherish forever," Gonzalez said. "I think only maybe Bobby [Cox] and a couple of other guys got to experience Chipper Jones for 15 [years] and John Smoltz and those guys. He's my guy. He's the guy I've been the longest with. And hopefully there's other guys I can say, when my career's over, I can say that about, too."
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.