Uggla takes a break after getting beaned
Second baseman Dan Uggla was hit by a pitch Tuesday in what he called the best spot: his head. The seventh-inning pitch clocked him on the ear flap of his batting helmet, and the red area behind his left ear was visible when he took the field in the bottom of the inning.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez wisely kept Uggla out of the starting lineup for Wednesday's day game. Whether Uggla begins to experience concussion-like symptoms or not -- and he hasn't as yet -- the incident gives Gonzalez an excellent reason to give Uggla and his .213 batting average time off.
Naturally, versatile Martin Prado started at second base in Uggla's place. He was 0-for-4 in the 7-1 win over the Marlins, but Juan Francisco, who started at third base on Chipper Jones' off day when Prado normally would have started there, went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI.
Despite having a bad two months to start the 2011 season -- attributed to joining a new team and signing a huge contract -- Uggla finished with the kind of numbers that were expected of him when general manager Frank Wren parted with another versatile player, Omar Infante. At least his home run numbers were as expected -- Uggla had 36 of them.
But his RBI production was off from his usual totals: 82, down from 105 the previous year. This year, Uggla has only 12 home runs and 46 RBI.
The Braves are off on Thursday, which gives Uggla two days to recuperate and recharge. He has been hitting the ball hard lately, even when the results are an out. And he did have a 3-for-4 night Friday against the Nationals in Washington, scoring four runs. But that was his first multi-hit game since June 5.
That's not the kind of production the Braves expect when they're paying him $13 million.