Most players who have 21 home runs and 53 RBIs are starters for their teams, but Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla doesn’t deserve to be one.
Thankfully, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has finally figured that out, as he has started Elliot Johnson over Uggla three of the past four games, which I recently said he needed to do. You see, while Uggla has put up the aforementioned numbers, his batting average currently sits at .180, which is one of the lowest marks in MLB among regulars.
And although the 33-year-old native of Louisville, KY has worked a respectable 71 walks, he has also struck out 158 times, which has him projected to go down on strikes a career-high 175 times.
It is the second straight year Uggla has been benched in September. It only lasted for a few games last season, but I truly hope Gonzalez has learned his lesson and will continue to let his veteran second baseman rid the pine in favor of Johnson, who has done a great job of getting on base since the Braves claimed him off waivers from the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 22.
“It’s his ballclub and I respect the decision that he made,” Uggla told Mark Bowman of MLB.com on Wednesday. “Do I agree with it? Once again, I’ve reiterated this lots of times: No, actually not. I don’t think we’re a better ballclub with me on the bench. But he’s the manager and I’ve got to respect his decision.”
That’s good to know, but right now everyone but Uggla knows that the Braves are better off without him in the lineup, and if he wants to change people’s minds, he needs to prove that he can hit better than he has since Atlanta signed him three years ago.
It will be harder to do so if he remains a bench player, but hey, the guy who has replaced him lately did it, so it’s certainly possible.