Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Braves cut ties with struggling Uggla

Dan Uggla tosses his helmet after striking out in the first inning of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)
Dan Uggla tosses his helmet after striking out in the first inning of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

THE ATLANTA BRAVES did everything they could over the last year to find a team willing to trade for struggling second baseman Dan Uggla.

There were no takers.

Uggla's frustrating, 4-year tenure with the Braves ended yesterday when the team requested unconditional release waivers on a former starter still guaranteed over $18 million for the remainder of this year and next.

"We've been very active making calls for the last month," general manager Frank Wren said. "We got to a point where we realized that this was probably our only avenue."

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  • Uggla received the news during an early afternoon meeting at Turner Field with Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez.

    In his fourth season with the Braves, Uggla, 34, was batting .162 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 48 games and 130 at-bats.

    He had a 33-game hitting streak in 2011, the franchise's second-longest, but also struck out 495 times in 451 games over the last 3 years.

    Uggla was benched on May 28 when the Braves purchased the contract of second baseman Tommy La Stella from Triple A Gwinnett. The team's patience with Uggla appeared to wear thin Sunday when he was suspended one game for reporting only 30 minutes before the start of a game at the Chicago Cubs.

    Uggla, a three-time NL All-Star, hit .179 with 22 homers and 55 RBI last year and underwent corrective eye surgery last summer. He struggled so much that he was left off the postseason roster after losing his job to Elliot Johnson, a journeyman claimed off waivers in late August.

    The Braves reinserted Uggla as the starter at the beginning of spring training this year, but he hit .212 in April and .080 in 25 at-bats during May.

    "It's obviously a tough day for me," first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "He was beloved by everybody in this clubhouse. He came in here every day and worked hard. He already told us he wants to go on [to another team]. It's definitely going to take a while for me [to get over]."

     

    Noteworthy

    * CC Sabathia will have season-ending surgery on his right knee, the New York Yankees announced. Sabathia will have arthroscopic debridement surgery next week, and the team hopes it will allow him to return to the mound by next spring training.

    "Hopefully, next year will be a different story," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

    For now, Sabathia, 33, will avoid microfracture surgery on the knee, which could have been career-ending. But if the initial surgery does not work, then a microfracture procedure could be in play.

    Sabathia has struggled the past 2 years, going 17-17 with a 4.87 ERA. This season, he was 3-4 with a 4.29 ERA.

    * The Houston Astros were unable to come to terms with lefthander Brady Aiken before yesterday's 5 p.m. ET deadline, according to reports. Aiken is only third the No. 1 overall pick of the major league draft not to sign, joining Danny Goodwin with the White Sox in 1971 and Tim Belcher with the Twins in 1983.

    Two days after the draft, Aiken agreed to terms on a $6.5 million bonus, then flew to Houston on June 23 for a physical and to finalize the deal. But the results left the Astros concerned with the ligament in his left elbow.

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