Giants' injuries open door for Uggla's debut
SAN FRANCISCO -- Matchups against Dodgers co-aces Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw aren't exactly ideal housewarming gifts, but that's the conundrum newly promoted Giants second baseman Dan Uggla will face Friday and Saturday night at AT&T Park.
Manager Bruce Bochy had hoped to get Uggla more than the seven at-bats he got at Triple-A Fresno, but with Ehire Adrianza and Marco Scutaro placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday afternoon and Joe Panik nursing an ankle injury, the Giants couldn't afford to not call up Uggla and fellow infielder Tony Abreu.
In a span of a week, the 34-year-old former Braves All-Star has gone from free agent to everyday starter for a first-place team.
"It is what it is; you've got to face those guys some time or another," Uggla said Friday when asked about his tough first opponents with the Giants. "This is one of those battles you look forward to.
"You can try to draw out the perfect picture of how to join a team, but what does it really matter? They wanted me here now, and I'm more than happy to be here. It doesn't matter who it's against. I'm looking forward to helping this team win."
Summer reclamation projects are nothing new for the Giants, who have previously tried to resurrect the careers of Jeff Francoeur (2013) and Pat Burrell (2010), but catching lighting in a bottle with Uggla might be even more improbable.
Uggla hit just .162/.241/.231 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in the Majors this season with Atlanta and was released last Friday after he lost his starting job at second base to rookie Tommy La Stella. Uggla hit .179/.309/.362 with 22 homers and 55 RBIs last season. In two games this week with Fresno, he was 2-for-7 with an RBI and two walks.
"Is he quite ready? It would have been nice to get him a few more at-bats down there, but it just wasn't possible with the injuries we're having right now," Bochy said before Friday night's game. "Sometimes change is good. I like taking a look at players who have a track record, and he has an outstanding track record.
"For him to be available, the timing was perfect for us because we need help at second base."
Given the lack of production the Giants have received from the position, the bar for what'll be deemed a success isn't high for Uggla, who said he's shortened his swing in an attempt to prioritize contact over power.
"We're human; we're going to fall out of whack sometimes and we have to get ourselves back into the right places some way or another," Uggla said. "I know what I bring to a clubhouse; I know what I can bring on the field. No added pressure here on my end. I've been in some dark places, battling my own struggles the last year and half, but that's over. I'm here to have fun and help these guys win."
As for Abreu, Bochy said he will be used primarily as a left-handed hitter off the bench. Abreu hit .281 with six home runs and 29 RBIs in 64 games this season with Fresno. In 53 games last season, his first with the Giants, he hit .268 with two home runs and 14 RBIs.
Lefty Jose De Paula and infielder Nick Noonan were designated for assignment to create room for Abreu and Uggla on the 40-man roster.