ATLANTA -- Dan Uggla was the odd-man out as manager Fredi Gonzalez shook up the Atlanta Braves' lineup Monday, and it may be the start of the costly fadeout of the veteran second baseman.
Uggla hit just .179 last season and was left off Atlanta's roster for the National League Division Series. He kept his regular spot for this season, though, because no other team was interested a taking a chance he would bounce back.
Uggla hasn't, and the Braves may now be forced to eat the rest of his contract, which will pay him nearly $27 million for this season and next.
The former National League All-Star has just five hits -- all singles -- in his past 41 at-bats, and his average is down to .190. His two homers were hit in the same game, and he struck out 30 times in 100 at-bats.
"I don't even want to address that situation there," Gonzalez said of his quandary at second base. "We'll just go with whatever we think gives us our best chance and go from there."
Uggla was given plenty of opportunities to get out of his funk, but the woes went gone on and on. He owns a .186 average in 265 games dating back to June 1, 2012.
Ramiro Pena started for Uggla in the series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals, and he went 2-for-4 and hit a home run in Atlanta' 4-3 loss. The Braves also have Tyler Pastornicky as a second base option.
Braves fans, though, are clamoring for the promotion of second baseman Tommy La Stella from Triple-A Gwinnett, where he is batting .320.
With speedy Jose Peraza batting .322 for high Class A Lynchburg, the Braves are well stacked in the pipeline at second base. The problem, though, is right now and what to do with a struggling veteran.