Dan Uggla of the Atlanta Braves has been put on the 15-day disabled list so he can get eye surgery. It was reported in the second half of June that Uggla was having problems seeing, which coincided with his increased strike out rate.
In 2010, Uggla’s strikeout rate was 22.1 percent, but it has steadily increased to a 31.7 percent this season. As his strikeout rate has climbed, his other numbers have suffered greatly. Since 2010, Uggla’s slash line has steadily deteriorated from .287/.369/.508 to a frustrating .186/.307/.389.
Uggla spoke to reporters after first reports of his eye issues came about in June saying:
“After bailing out on so many curveballs and taking so many front-door sliders and hanging sliders, I thought, ‘Let me go get this checked out because something’s not right.’ On video, the balls I’m ducking out of the way on aren’t really that close.”
In retrospect, it seems obvious that something was wrong with Uggla. In spring training he was actually diagnosed with astigmatism, but for whatever reason, he didn’t think it was a big deal. I’m not sure how an athlete who’s paid $13 million a year disregards a medical issue with his eyesight.
Tyler Pastornicky has been called up to replace Uggla in tonight’s lineup against the Philidelphia Phillies. Sources have said that Uggla will likely be out for three weeks to a month, though I recall Greg Maddux getting surgery in 1999 and not missing a start.
The Braves’ dominant lead on the NL East could turn out to be a crucial circumstance for the 2013 season now that Uggla’s power and defense will be missing for the next while. Had the Braves been in a closer battle for the division, it’s likely the Braves wouldn’t have sent Uggla for this surgery.
This surgery could change a lot for Atlanta. If Uggla returns to anything even resembling his past form, the already explosive Braves lineup will be nearly unbeatable.
Adam Krentz is an Atlanta Braves writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.