Braves second baseman Dan Uggla is recovering from LASIK eye surgery over the weekend and joked on Saturday that he hoped the doctors “fixed my swing when I was under.” (Reuters News Service)
ATLANTA — After undergoing LASIK eye surgery on Friday, Dan Uggla said he’s already seen considerable improvement. Uggla said his eyes were checked in a follow-up visit Saturday, and he tested out with 20/15 vision. Because of recent problems with astigmatism, he had been at about 20/30 or 20/35.
“That tells me right there that it went good,” Uggla said. “There are some things that are going to be cloudy or whatever at times. But over the next three, four, five days it should settle in.”
Uggla hit off the tee in the indoor cages Saturday afternoon and watched the game in the Braves dugout. Doctors don’t want him to risk getting dirt or particles in his eyes for the next couple of days, but they’ve told him he can start taking batting practice when the Braves travel to play the Mets in New York on Tuesday.
Uggla will likely go out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment toward the end of his 15-day disabled list stint. He’s hopeful he can return right around Aug. 28 when he’s eligible.
The surgery performed by Dr. Alan Kozarsky took about 15 minutes for both eyes. Uggla said he felt some discomfort on his ride home but after sleeping a few hours, he woke up pain-free.
“I feel like I could (have played Saturday),” Uggla said. “Who knows if I’d be effective or not, but that’s how good I feel like I’m seeing right now.”
Uggla is hitting a career-low .186 this season, though he’s second on the team with 21 home runs and is tied for the Braves lead in walks with 62.
“Hopefully they fixed my swing when I was under,” he joked.
B.J. NOT ARGUING ABOUT PLAYING TIME: Upton was out of the Braves’ lineup Saturday night for the third consecutive game in which the Braves faced a right-hander, in favor of the left-handed hitting Jordan Schafer. Upton returned to the lineup Sunday against Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez, giving the impression that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is platooning his .188-hitting center fielder.
But Gonzalez said before Saturday’s game he’s not looking at this necessarily as a platoon.
“I wouldn’t call it a platoon,” said Gonzalez, who said he had a conversation with Upton about it during last weekend’s Marlins series. “I’m calling it just a matchup situation. … I’m just trying to get a matchup for both of them and see what Schafer can do a little bit. I think B.J. is going to help us come here in the next five or six weeks, try to get him a good matchup and get him going. I think he’s going to be a big part of this run.”
For his part, Upton is not complaining. He said all the right things Saturday afternoon when asked about his limited playing time.
“I’m just rolling with it,” Upton said. “If I’m in the lineup, I’m in there. If I’m not, then I’m not. I don’t really have an argument. What’s my argument? I don’t. So he’s going to play who he wants to play, and that’s fine with me. Like I said, as long as we win, I’ll support my teammates regardless. We all have the same goal, that’s to get a championship, get a ring. Wherever I can pitch in to help, I’ll do it.”
Upton has struggled for much of the season, and he’s hitting a majors’ worst .093 (7-for-75) with runners in scoring position. But if he had a time where he might raise a complaint, he could make a case that he’s trying to build on the work he started on the Braves’ recent trip of five games in Philadelphia and Washington — when Upton hit .476 (10-for-21) and had a four-hit game. But he won’t complain.
“We’re going way too well for me to be worried about what I’m doing,” Upton said. “This is bigger than me. This is about the team.”
ODDS & ENDS: Shortstop Andrelton Simmons on the highlight play that Paul Janish made behind second base on a Wilson Ramos ground ball in the ninth inning of the Braves’ 3-2 win over the Nationals on Friday: “That’s a 10 in my book. That ball, I don’t get how he got to it in the first place and then get rid of it. … I don’t even know how he threw it because I couldn’t see his face. You should have seen it from my angle.” The Braves won the game on Justin Upton’s walk-off home run in the 10th inning. … Left-hander Paul Maholm made a rehabilitation outing for Single-A Rome on Saturday night, striking out six in 5 2/3 innings. He allowed four hits and one earned run, and didn’t walk anyone. He was scheduled to throw six innings or 80 pitches. The Braves will wait to see how his left wrist responds before deciding whether to insert him back into the rotation soon or send him out for a second rehab start. … The Braves have released infielder Blake DeWitt. DeWitt last appeared in a game April 19 in Pittsburgh and spent the better part of the past four months battling back problems. They moved Cristhian Martinez from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL to make room for Phil Gosselin on the 40-man roster.