ATLANTA (AP) — Braves second baseman Dan Uggla said he finally realized he could not wait any longer to have Lasik eye surgery and was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.
Uggla, hitting only .186 with a National League-leading 146 strikeouts, has battled eye problems throughout the season and has experimented with contact lenses.
Uggla said the eye surgery “was a mutual decision.”
“Obviously, I don’t want to go on the DL whatsoever, but at the same time we’ve got to do what’s best for the team right now,” he said.
“I’ve been struggling pretty bad and battling with the contacts and grinding with these things day in and day out. I think the best thing to do it go ahead and so it now.”
Until Tuesday, Uggla’s goal had been to postpone the procedure until the offseason.
“They approached me with it today and as much as I wanted to argue and be like ‘You can’t do this,’ at the same time there’s got to be production out there on that field and I haven’t been doing it,” Uggla said. “So it’s tough for me to make an argument when I want to do what’s right for this team.”
Uggla said he expects to have the procedure as soon as possible and miss only two weeks.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Uggla will have time to adjust before the postseason. The Braves lead the NL East by 14 games.
“When this procedure works, and I do say when because of the success rate, we may see a guy who all of a sudden is a new player,” Gonzalez said. “So that’s encouraging for me.”
Tyler Pastornicky was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett and will start at second base in Tuesday night’s game against the Phillies.
Gonzalez said veteran utility infielder Paul Janish may be used as a late-inning defensive replacement for Pastornicky.
Uggla hit .250 in June and has been below .200 every other month this season. His struggles got worse in August, when he had only two hits in 37 at-bats (.054).
Despite the low batting average, Uggla ranks second on the team with 21 homers, good for sixth in the National League, and third with 53 RBIs. He ranks fourth in the NL with 62 walks.
Braves catcher Brian McCann has gone through similar vision problems. He had his first Lasik surgery in 2007 and had another procedure he called an “enhancement” in 2010.
McCann also tried contacts before finally opting for the surgery.
McCann, who is Uggla’s clubhouse neighbor, said the second baseman “exhausted every avenue” with contacts and different eye drops.
“I think this is the best thing for him,” McCann said. “I think it’s going to work.”