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Dan Uggla is having vision problems, could require LASIK surgery

Jun 20, 2013, 10:32 PM EDT

Dan Uggla AP AP

Dan Uggla has always had the reputation as a free-swinging slugger, but he has been particularly strikeout-prone this season. And it appears that there could be an explanation for his struggles.

Braves assistant hitting coach Scott Fletcher told Jeff Schultz of the the Atlanta Journal-Constitution today that Uggla is dealing with vision problems and could require LASIK surgery. The 33-year-old was out of the starting lineup tonight against the Mets while Tyler Pastornicky made the start at second base.

“Well, now you have the situation with his eyes. His vision – it’s something that’s been bothering him for a while and only now is it something he’s really taking care of.

“He went to the eye doctor today and he might end up having to do Lasik. … I think they’re just trying to see if he’s a candidate right now. There’s certain balls and stuff he said he wasn’t seeing well. At times he’s flinching on balls that are good pitches and it’s like, ‘Why am I not seeing that ball better?’ So we’ll see how it goes with that.”

Uggla is hitting .194 with 92 strikeouts in 270 plate appearances this season, good enough (or bad enough, really) for a strikeout rate of 34.1 percent. Only Houston’s Chris Carter (38.4 percent) has struck out more often this season. Uggla’s strikeout rate increased from 23.2 percent in 2011 to 26.7 percent last year, so he has been trending in the wrong direction for a while now. The Braves still owe him $13 million in 2014 and 2015, so it’s in their best interests to explore any and all ways to get him back on track.

  1. socalskinsfan21 - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    Jesus. how many seasons does he have to whiff 200+ times before he realizes he’s having trouble seeing the ball?

    • flamethrower101 - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      It’s one thing to be a free-swinger who only swings in one spot of the strike zone and hope it goes over the wall (a la Adam Dunn, Mark Reynolds, Uggla, etc) and it’s another to just not be able to see the ball that well. We tend to forget that issues like this do carry over once a player’s playing career ends, so here’s hoping Uggla gets this problem rectified.

  2. scdocal - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    As a braves fan it wouldn’t surprise me if after he does this eye fixing we try to get rid of him and pay part of his salary. Dude is god awful. What’s the excuse for his poor fielding. Dude hasn’t been able to stay above the Mendoza line since 06. He is a virtual out every time at the plate. We have enough free swingers would love to get a guy with average. Doubt that will happen.

    • mlenenski - Jun 21, 2013 at 12:18 AM

      You are right, but we got Dan Uggla in the Freddi Gonzalez tradehire)…..Not sure about either guy. Kinda expensive deal if you asked me since neither guy has can pitch.

      Would have preferred Willie Randolph if we could have gotten David Wright in the package especially since he kills the ball at Turner Field.

      Would traded Wright for Chipper with cash. before Chipper had a chance to single handedly lose his last playoff game…….

      “paging Frank Wren, paging Frank Wren, your backseat driver on line one.”

  3. daveitsgood - Jun 21, 2013 at 12:40 AM

    nothing you just said made any sense nor was any of it a possibility of happening.

  4. 13arod - Jun 21, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    I am a fan of uggla and I think that he needs a different mind set and needs to stop swinging for the fences all the time and needs to be more focused on the ball

  5. Walk - Jun 21, 2013 at 12:56 AM

    Dan’s problem has been pretty obvious the last few games. He has started flinching on slow curve balls that break into the inner third of the plate. He seems ok on cutters or sliders but slow it down a bit and he turns his back on the ball inside.

  6. scdocal - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:28 AM

    What the hell was that. Willie Randolph and David Wright? So what ur saying is is he isn’t focused on the ball while he is up to bat? What the hell is he focused on? No u cut bait and get somebody out there who can hit for average and play a solid second base. The writer didn’t mention that he is the worst fielding everyday second baseman in the league. He has looked lost since he went on that 33 game hit streak almost 3 years ago. He is not worth 13 mill a year. Pastornicky went 3-5 today in his first game called up and I hope we stick with him.

  7. lapsncaps - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:49 AM

    He should go see this guy!!!

    • jm91rs - Jun 21, 2013 at 10:13 AM

      I’m paying $150 just to get my pupils dilated for an exam. I’d definitely pay this guy $12 for the surgery.

  8. dacty4491 - Jun 21, 2013 at 6:32 AM

    Dan Uggla’s offensive performance has been declining for the last three seasons. He’s 33 years old and his OPS+ has been as follows during his tenure with the Braves: 2011 – 107, 2012 – 98, 2013 -96. You could tolerate that if he were a good glove man, but he’s not. He has the range of a statue and he’s the worst defensive second baseman in the majors. Whether or not he’s having vision problems, it’s doubtful that they’re the cause of his problems at the plate. The more likely cause is simple aging.

  9. drewsylvania - Jun 21, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    I caused this. You see, I recently got him in fantasy.

  10. nbjays - Jun 21, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    Maybe he could get together with most of the umpires and get a group discount on LASIK.

  11. Joe - Jun 21, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    Question – why aren’t eye exams part of the routine pre-season physicals given to players? (Or are they?) I know that sometimes our eyesight can deteriorate quickly, but it seems fairly common to have guys who struggle in spring training and struggle during the first few months of the season, and then they go to an eye doctor and discover that they can’t see properly. And if hitting the ball requires one to see the ball, an hour in the chair at the beginning of the year seems a pretty small price to pay to avoid this kind of trouble.

  12. jm91rs - Jun 21, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    LASIK is an amazing thing for someone that needs it. Of course sometimes it’s not permanent and then you have to go out and buy new glasses because you donated your old ones after the surgery. And the doctor charges you $90 to tell you every year that they can’t redo the surgery quite yet, even though you bought the “lifetime tune-up” package.

    • jm91rs - Jun 21, 2013 at 9:16 AM

      Sorry, I get a little angry thinking about how I went from blind to perfect vision and have slowly faded back to blind.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jun 21, 2013 at 10:23 AM

        How long did it take before you started noticing your eye site declining.

  13. koufaxmitzvah - Jun 21, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    How is having a doctor improve your eyesight so you hit better not on the same scale as popping a pill that helps you lift more weight so you hit farther?

    • stex52 - Jun 21, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      Oh man, Mitzvah, are you sure you want to start that one back up?

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:55 PM

        It’s the end of another week when Ryan Braun played poster child for Biogenesis potential suspensions, so yeah.

  14. foreverchipper10 - Jun 21, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    First Brian McCann and now Dan Uggla. Why can’t the Braves brass see this problem sooner?

    • nbjays - Jun 21, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      Because they need LASIK too?

  15. stex52 - Jun 21, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    What is the recovery period for Lasik?

    • nbjays - Jun 21, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      When I had it done in 2007, it was a good couple of months before I didn’t have the halo effect around lights at night. It made night driving difficult during that first two months. I would assume that night baseball games would be the same.

  16. plmathfoto - Jun 21, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Here’s an idea for him, have him focus on the ball, but instead of it coming out the pitchers hand, how about it hitting the catcher’s mitt?

    • plmathfoto - Jun 21, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      Meant to say instead of watching it hit his bat watch it hit the catchers mitt, much more often that way, better for consistency.

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