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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Braves 2B updates: Dan Uggla, Tyler Pastornicky, Ramiro Pena


By on 2/13/2014 09:00:00 PM

The Atlanta Braves lost three second basemen in 2013, Dan Uggla to vision problems, Tyler Pastornicky to knee surgery, and Ramiro Pena to shoulder surgery. All are expected back in camp, and Uggla has a chance to reclaim his starting job. Pena has recovered and has no restrictions. Pastornicky, though, will report to Spring Training with some limitations as described by MLB.com's Mark Bowman.

By dbking via Wikimedia Commons
Uggla's 2013 season ended on August 13 because of blurred vision that very likely led to his .179 average in 136 games. He had LASIK surgery that day, and after a full offseason to recover and adjust to his improved vision, he will have the chance to earn back his job as the Braves' starting second baseman. Even though he had such a low average, Uggla still managed to hit for some power, hitting 22 home runs and driving in 55 runs.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez spoke of Uggla's past success and put last season into perspective. Said Gonzalez,
"Last year, although his batting average was down, he still hit 20 homers and walked a bunch. Just a couple years ago he became the first second baseman to hit at least 30 home runs in five consecutive seasons. It's still there."
Uggla will have competition but not so much from Pastornicky, Uggla's initial replacement -- at least not immediately. Pastornicky's chance ended very quickly when he collided with Jayson Heyward in effort to make a catch just one game into his tenure as the starter. He suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on August 19. Bowman says that Pastronicky will have restricted activities for the first part of Spring Training, but he will join the competition with Uggla and prospect Tommy La Stella for the starter's role. Pastornicky hit .300 in 20 games last year.

Pena has no limitations according to Bowman. He had surgery on June 27 to repair the labrum in his right shoulder. He was a part-time player in 2013 but managed a .278 average and three home runs in 50 games.

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