The Atlanta Braves decided to leave second baseman Dan Uggla off their roster for the National League Division Series as the team prepares to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Major League Baseball's official Twitter feed provided the update:
UPDATE: Thursday, Oct. 3, at 5:39 p.m. ET
Uggla spoke about the team's decision to leave him off the playoff roster (via Jon Heymen of CBS Sports and David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution):
Dan Uggla: "It's disappointing and it hurts ... that (GM Frank Wren) doesn't think I can help the team win."— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) October 3, 2013
#Braves Uggla: "Dissappointed, p***ed off... I'm not blind to my numbers. But at same time, I know what I've done my whole career."— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) October 3, 2013
---End of Update---
Did the Braves make the right call?
The move doesn't come as a surprise. Uggla posted a dreadful .179 batting average during the regular season with just 35 extra-base hits. MLB.com's Mark Bowman speculated earlier in the week that he wouldn't make the final cut for the Dodgers series.
Uggla's struggles led him to undergo eye surgery in August with hopes that better vision would improve his performance at the plate. It didn't happen, though, and he remained a drain on the Braves, both due to his lack of offensive contributions and poor play in the field.
Still, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times points out, Atlanta is leaving its highest-paid player on the sidelines for the marquee matchup:
The Orange County Register's Bill Plunkett passes along Uggla's numbers against the Dodgers this season. Ultimately, they weren't enough to overshadow his otherwise serious struggles:
Uggla was 5 for 19 (.263) with three HRs six RBI in six games vs #Dodgers this season.— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) October 2, 2013
Dan Mathews of 92.9 Radio in Atlanta passes on a bit of Gonzalez's logic behind the decision:
With Uggla out of the picture, at least for now, the Braves will turn to Elliot Johnson at second base. He doesn't provide the same type of offensive upside as the player he's replacing, but he is a more reliable option in the field and can handle the fundamentals at the plate to advance runners.
Offensively, it puts more pressure on the likes of Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton and Brian McCann in the middle of the lineup. That said, it would have been tough to rely on Uggla anyway, given his problems at the plate.
Pushing the right buttons is a major key to success in the playoffs. The Braves will hope leaving Uggla off the roster pays off in the division series.
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