Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – He’s still got upper arms that are bigger than many folks’ thighs, but Braves second baseman Dan Uggla is noticeably leaner than last year during his career-worst season.
He shed 10 pounds since the end of the season and 20 pounds since the beginning of 2012 spring training, when he came to camp looking like a middle linebacker.
“I came into spring training at 225 last year,” said Uggla, who is about 5-foot-9. “I’ve always been solid, but that was just too thick for me.”
He had an awful midseason slump and finished the season with career-lows in batting average (.220), home runs (19), RBIs (78), slugging percentage (.384) and on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.732). He snapped his streak of five consecutive seasons with more than 30 homers and had a career-high 168 strikeouts, 12 above his own franchise record in 2011.
Uggla, 32, spent the offseason working out with other Braves including Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman and Kris Medlen, doing more baseball-specific workouts and agility drills and less of the heavy weightlifting he’d done a year before.
The other major change was diet.
“I never knew how to eat,” he said. “I thought I was eating right, and I wasn’t. So I finally figured out the right way. It’s not a diet, it’s just putting good stuff into your body. Lean (meat), lots of fruit and veggies. Pretty much all organic, that kind of stuff.”
Wait a minute, Dan Uggla’s gone organic?
“Well, it’s just shopping at Whole Foods instead of Publix, you know?” he said, smiling. “But yeah, actually I get to eat a lot more food this way. I guess I just took all the bad (stuff) out. I feel great, too. Unbelievable.”
Uggla said he reduced his body fat to 9.5 percent, down 3-4 percent from a year ago. His waist size went from “about 35 to about 33.”
Asked if less bulk might make it easier to move and swing the bat, he said, “I don’t know, because I’ve been big my whole career. Hopefully… Just in general I feel better. All the bad stuff went out. I wasn’t consciously trying to lose weight. I went from 215 to 205, which I think is a good weight for me.
“My body feels great. I’m not sore. It’s unbelievable. I’m never hardly even sore after a workout.”
Late start this weekend: Braves workouts Saturday and Sunday will start at 1 p.m., three hours later than usual because of team physicals in the morning. They’ll go back to 10 a.m. workouts Monday through Thursday before the Braves open their Grapefruit League season Friday with a home game against Detroit at Champion Stadium.... Outfielder Jose Constanza and pitcher Wirfin Obispo missed Friday's first full-squad workout. Neither has reported to camp after being delayed by visa issues in the Dominican Republic.