Uggla takes pride in his defense

BY foxsports • September 15, 2010

Dan Uggla is known for his All-Star defense, and that's not good.

The Florida Marlins' second baseman made a record three errors in the 2008 All-Star Game, all in extra innings. He figures his reputation has never recovered, despite occasionally exceptional defense, including two terrific plays Tuesday night against Philadelphia.

''I take a lot of pride in my defense,'' Uggla said. ''I know everybody thinks I (stink) on defense because of that stupid game a few years ago. But I work hard at it.''

Against the Phillies, Uggla dove to snare a grounder and threw from his knees to retire Ryan Howard in the first inning. Uggla made the play 30 feet behind the infield dirt.

''I'm not a fan of playing out there, let it be known, but that's our best defense against a guy like Ryan Howard,'' Uggla said. ''It gives us a little more time to react and take some hits away.''

Uggla made a similar play behind the dirt to get pitcher Cole Hamels in the fourth.

There's no knocking Uggla's offense. He went into Wednesday's game with 30 home runs and a career-high 93 RBIs. He's the only second baseman in major-league history with four 30-homer seasons, and they've been in succession.

He also has 15 errors - one off his career high - and a .978 fielding percentage, both third-worst in the majors. But the Marlins say Uggla's glovework is improved.

''He has kept us in games with his defense for the whole season pretty much,'' manager Edwin Rodriguez said. ''He has been very solid.''

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