TAMPA -- Dan Uggla gave the Braves a scare when he was hit in the back of the neck by a Branden Pinder fastball in the sixth inning of the Braves' 2-0 win against the Yankees on Tuesday night, the second time in six months he's been hit in the head or neck by a pitch.
Uggla stayed on his feet and went to first base, then was replaced by a pinch-runner. He was examined by a Yankees doctor and cleared to return to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., with the team.
"Danny was fine, but you are scared when you get hit around the head area," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who checked with the team's trainer after the game. "Got him in the neck. He's a tough guy. I'm sure he'll be ready to go Thursday." (The Braves are off Wednesday.)
Miami’s Chad Gaudin hit Uggla with a 92-mph fastball that struck the left earhole of his batting helmet in a July 24 game. Uggla sustained only a bruised and swollen ear and was back in the lineup after missing one start following that incident.
After Tuesday’s beaning, Uggla said, “I’m good. Luckily I never was blacked out or anything like that. I feel fine.”
The pitch by Pinder, a non-roster invitee, startled Uggla, who briefly scowled at the pitcher before going to first base. Replays appeared to show the ball hit the bottom edge of his batting helmet and neck.
“I was mad more than anything,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t intentional, but any time you get hit in the head or shoulder, your first instinct is to get angry. But then you shake it off and take your base.”
Uggla said he had a “sensation” on his neck, but there were no apparent cuts or contusions.
It's been a rough early spring for Uggla, who was 0-for-2 with a strikeout Tuesday and is batting .130 (3-for-23) with one home run, one RBI, three walks and 12 strikeouts.