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Braves bench All-Star 2B Uggla

ATLANTA — Slumping 2B Dan Uggla, hitting only .208, has been benched by the Braves in a move manager Fredi Gonzalez acknowledged was "not easy."

Uggla, who started in this year's All-Star Game, said Gonzalez told him of the change Sunday.

"He didn't really explain anything to me," Uggla said. "He just kind of said, 'We've got to make a change. I don't know how much playing time you're going to get the next 29 days.' "

Martin Prado started at second against the Rockies on Monday for the second straight day.

The Braves acquired INF Jeff Baker from Detroit on Friday and also have INF Tyler Pastornicky on the bench. Both can play second base, but Gonzalez said Prado is the new starter.

"It's a situation where we feel like we need to do something for the team and the name on the front of the uniform," Gonzalez said. "It's hard. It's not easy. Two months ago, you don't even think about it."

Uggla hit only .233 in 2011, his first season in Atlanta, but finished strong with a career-best 36 homers with 82 RBIs. He is the first second baseman in the major leagues with five 30-homer seasons.

Uggla started slowly last season but recovered with a 33-game hitting streak and was the NL player of the month in August. He hasn't had a similar turnaround this season, hitting .160 in June, .115 in July and .207 in August.

"I understand what my numbers are. I'm not blind to that," Uggla said.

Uggla also said "numbers don't mean anything to me. … I'm part of the team that got us where we are now."

Gonzalez said he couldn't ignore Uggla's prolonged struggles at the plate.

"You just look at the big sample size," Gonzalez said.

BOSOX WOE: Red Sox GM Ben Cherington admits his current team "is hard to watch." And that was before his team lost its seventh straight game.

Boston has lost eight of 10 since sending stars Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers in a nine-player trade. The Red Sox are 62-74, following their historic September collapse with an all-out plummet.

Cherington called the team's sad state "a reflection on all of us."

"When we made the trade we knew we were not helping our team the rest of this year," he said. "That said, it's still hard to watch. There are things we need to accomplish the rest of the year."

STRASBURG LIMIT: A day after announcing that RHP Stephen Strasburg will start only twice more this season, Nationals manager Davey Johnson met with his ace to explain the decision. Johnson was joined by GM Mike Rizzo and pitching coach Steve McCatty. Strasburg, who is 15-6 with a 2.94 ERA and leads the NL with 195 strikeouts, had reconstructive elbow surgery two years ago.

VOTTO IMPROVING: Reds 1B Joey Votto, out since July 15 with damaged cartilage in his left knee that required two operations, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in a rehab start with Triple-A Louisville. The former NL MVP said he felt better than he did a couple of days earlier.

FSL PLAYOFFS: The Dunedin Blue Jays visit the Lakeland Flying Tigers at 6:30 tonight to open the best-of-three North Division playoff series. The series returns to Dunedin on Wednesday and Thursday, if necessary. The winner plays for the league championship.

MARLINS: The team plans to use a six-man rotation for the rest of the season, manager Ozzie Guillen said. LHP Wade LeBlanc will start tonight, pushing RHP Jacob Turner back a day in a rotation that also includes LHP Mark Buehrle and RHPs Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Nathan Eovaldi.

Braves bench All-Star 2B Uggla 09/03/12 [Last modified: Monday, September 3, 2012 10:01pm]
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