Struggling Uggla returns to Miami

Dan Uggla says he finds it hard to believe former teammate

Hanley Ramirez is hitting so poorly this season for the Florida

Marlins.

But then Uggla has done even worse with the Atlanta Braves.

Back in Miami for the first time since being traded to Atlanta

last fall, Uggla began a series Tuesday against the Marlins ranked

last in the majors with a batting average of .172.

Ramirez, who was Uggla’s keystone partner for four seasons,

ranked eighth-worst at .210 and is on the disabled list with a back

strain.

”It looks like we need each other or something, you know?”

Uggla said with a chuckle. ”But he’s a great, great hitter. He’s

going to come out of his thing, and I’m going to come out of

mine.”

Uggla signed a five-year, $62 million contract after the Braves

acquired him in November, and some speculate he has pressed at the

plate because of his big deal.

”You can look at it a bunch of different ways and try to make

excuses about it,” he said. ”It’s just one of those things. I’ve

had a rough start to this year for whatever reason. Who knows?

People can say the contract, the pressure, the city, the team. For

me it’s just a rough start. I’m going to battle and try to get out

of it.”

There was no sign of that happening: He began the series in

Miami with five hits in his past 60 at-bats (.083). In 221 at-bats

he had seven homers but only 16 RBIs. He was batting .102 against

left-handers and .111 with runners in scoring position.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez noted that Uggla was a model of

consistency when played for the Marlins from 2006 through 2010.

Each year the second baseman had at least 27 homers and 88

RBIs.

”You read the back of the baseball card and see all of those

home runs and RBIs – I’ve got to believe that is going to kick

in,” Gonzalez said.

The series at Florida was also a homecoming for Gonzalez. He

grew up in Miami and managed the Marlins for 3 1/2 seasons before

being fired last June.