Uggla gets rare start; Pastornicky return near

It’s probably not a good sign for Dan Uggla that it’s bigger news when he’s in the lineup than when he’s not, but that’s the case right now for the struggling veteran second baseman.

Uggla got the start Thursday night at second base with Tyler Pastornicky in need of at least one more day to rest his strained left calf.

“Uggs is on the roster, he’s on our team,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We’ll try to pick spots where we can use him, so he can be productive and help us win a game.”

Uggla has started just twice in the past 14 games, including Sunday in St. Louis. Uggla is hitting .145 (9-for-62) with one extra-base hit (double) and no RBIs since his two-homer game April 14 in Philadelphia. Uggla had hit a game-winning grand slam that night in a 9-6 come-from-behind win over the Phillies.

Pastornicky has been out of the lineup since Saturday when he strained his calf muscle leaping to catch a throw to second base from catcher Evan Gattis.

Pastornicky felt the calf tighten up during batting practice on Monday and hadn’t taken groundballs since. But after testing it by running for doctors Wednesday night, he was cleared for full activities in batting practice on Thursday. Barring another setback, he’s expected back in the lineup in the next day or so.

“It’s feeling really good now,” Pastornicky said Thursday. “Probably one more day of testing it and seeing how it reacts tomorrow.”