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Braves Should Make Temporary Change As Dan Uggla Struggles

Dan Uggla is killing the Braves' lineup on a nightly basis right now, and there's no real sign of improvement as he continues to play.

He's batting .132/.290/.211 over the course of the last 30 days, a time when Atlanta has somehow begun playing their best baseball of the season. In that span, Uggla has just one homer and eight runs batted in. June wasn't much better as he hit .160 with a mediocre .648 OPS.

It's time for a change at second base. Not necessarily a permanent change, but at least something different for three or four days.

With the recent acquisition of Reed Johnson, manager Fredi Gonzalez has the flexibility to move Martin Prado around the diamond. The Braves should shift Prado to second base for the rest of the weekend and preferably even on Monday, and then start Johnson in left.

It would be one thing if Uggla was driving the ball and just being on the wrong end of bad luck. It's another if he's barely making contact, which he is; in the last 30 days, Uggla has an infield fly ball percentage of 34.6%. That's horrible, and it's a key attribute of a player who isn't balanced at the plate.

As Uggla sits on the bench, he can clear his head and refocus on what he did back in April and May when he was arguably the team's best hitter. Extra work in the batting cage never hurt anyone, either.

The Braves' lineup as constructed now has what it takes to make a run at the playoffs. It will only get better when Andrelton Simmons returns in a few weeks. Add a slugging Dan Uggla back into the mix and Atlanta's one-through-eight becomes one of the best in baseball.

For more on the Braves, check out Talking Chop.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.