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Dan Uggla produced above-average stats, particularly for a second baseman, for the first six seasons of his career with the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves. He continued to hit well for the first two months of the 2012 season, his second with the Braves, until he stopped producing much of anything. This season, the drop-off continued; Uggla's batting .194 with a team-high 92 strikeouts. Is he just losing it at age 33?
He appears to be losing something. After Braves coach Scott Fletcher spilled the beans to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Uggla admitted he's had vision problems since "late last year" and was diagnosed with astigmatism in spring training. He might get Lasik surgery if new contact lenses — for which he was fitted Thursday — don't help.
From the AJC:
"They told me I had a slight stigmatism in spring training but I was like, ‘Ah, whatever,’" Uggla said. "I guess now looking back I kind of noticed it last year. It was harder to focus, even on the field. This year I was just trying to battle through it, thinking, ‘Oh, it's gonna come [around] like it always does,’ not thinking, ‘Maybe I’m not seeing the ball.’ But after bailing out on so many curveballs and taking so many front-door sliders and hanging sliders, I thought, 'Let me go get this checked out because something’s not right.' On video, the balls I’m ducking out of the way on aren’t really that close."
It's amazing when professional athletes — most of whom take diligent care of their bodies — get all "Ah, whatever" when they get a medical diagnoses that should help to confirm that something is wrong. It's like a Regular Joe who won't see a doctor, and blows off screenings for the prostate or colorectal cancers. It's one thing to be afraid of bad news, but when you're a baseball player and you can't see well and you're not hitting like you should, you'd think Uggla would be quicker to do something about it. That's where a responsibility for making $62 million comes in. He owes it not only to himself, but to the Braves.
The takeaway here is, guys over 50, go get your prostate checked. Baseball players who have trouble seeing and are batting under .200, go see the eye doctor, unless you're Adam Dunn.
As the greasy man said in the "Major League" film, "Seeing's the most important thing."
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