A big deal was made of second baseman Dan Uggla's defensive problems when he was acquired by the Braves over the winter. New manager Fredi Gonzalez defended him then by saying Uggla just missed a lot of balls most infielders never even try to go after.
"The way I've seen him doing some stuff defensively," Gonzalez said, "that's the way you want players to be. I'm going on five years with him, and that's the way he plays the game. Whether he made that play or not, the effort (was there)."
Uggla has no errors through the Braves' first 11 games. He and shortstop Alex Gonzalez have been a fluid and effective double-play combination so far in the young season, and Uggla was involved in two DPs in Tuesday's 5-0 win over Florida.
Fredi Gonzalez credits Alex Gonzalez for quarterbacking.
"I think Alex --13 seasons in the big leagues -- has helped Danny along with positioning," the manager said. "It seems like they've been working together for a long time, and they've only done it for two months."
Alex Gonzalez shrugs an it's-not-a-big-deal shrug, saying, "Sometimes I make a call on a double-play situation; I know the batter, I know he likes to go to the right side, for instance. Sometimes it changes with the pitching location. And now we're doing pretty good."
Uggla mentioned an additional reason for their compatibility: They both learned under Marlins first base coach Perry Hill.
"We both already knew where we like the feeds to be," Uggla said. "He didn't really have to ask me where I wanted the feed to be. He already knew. But at the same time, it's not necessarily knowing where the ball ends up. It's knowing how he's going to deliver the ball to you. I think that's a huge key because if you know how he's going to deliver the ball to you, then you know where to look for the ball coming out of his release point, whether it's a flip or an underhand toss or whatever.
"Every infielder's just a little different. But it's been fun working with him. He's great. Makes my job real easy."
Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.