Dan Uggla is set to return to the Atlanta Braves‘ lineup on Wednesday evening, when they face the Cleveland Indians and right-handed pitcher Justin Masterson. Uggla was placed on the 15-day DL on Aug. 13, when he decided to undergo LASIK eye surgery to treat astigmatism that he had developed.
Uggla has been a nagging sore in the Braves’ lineup ever since he was traded to them from the Miami Marlins in 2011. In 2010, Uggla hit .287/.369/.508 with 33 home runs; he was a monster. The trade was a sure thing to boost the Braves’ lineup to playoff contention, but things didn’t go as planned.
In his first year with Atlanta, Uggla’s batting average dropped sharply to an unacceptable .233, but his power remained hot, as he hit 36 home runs. As we now know, that wasn’t good enough to get them into the postseason in 2011; maybe if he had hit just .240 the Braves would have won the one extra game they needed. In 2012, Uggla depreciated even more, lowering his batting average to .220, and only hitting 19 home runs. That drop in power made him nearly worthless; he was definitely no longer worth his $13 million salary.
This year, Uggla has continued his downward trend. His slash line has dropped to an atrocious .186/.307/.389, and he remains a drain on the Braves’ payroll. He was diagnosed with astigmatism before the season started, but didn’t take any action, it wasn’t until mid-season that Uggla seriously considered the LASIK. With the Braves dominating the NL East, they decided it was a good time for Uggla to get the surgery, in hopes that it helps stop the downward spiral he has found himself in.
In his first five years in the majors, Uggla hit for a decent average with outstanding power, but the Braves have yet to witness such greatness; they are hoping this surgery can bring his bat back to life. Uggla played in a rehab game on Monday, where he struck out twice and hit into a double play, which is reassuring news. Regardless, here’s to hoping this surgery helps the Uggla that played for the Marlins finally show up for the Braves.