Dan Uggla returned to the Braves lineup Friday night in Milwaukee, wearing newly fitted contact lenses and hopeful that it will make a difference in what’s been an uphill struggle at the plate.
Uggla entered the series against the Brewers hitting .194, with 92 strikeouts in 227 at-bats.
He was diagnosed with astigmatism in spring training and tried contacts then, but he didn’t see immediate improvement with contacts and quit wearing them.
Uggla continued having problems seeing, especially breaking balls — “it just kind of looked like a white blur coming in” — and went back for more extensive tests with Braves eye doctors Thursday in Atlanta. This time he was fitted with what he feels is a better prescription.
“I didn’t go into it in spring with the right mindset it,” Uggla said. “I was just doing it to try it, hoping that instantly, I’d be able to see twice as good as I could before.”
Uggla has never worn glasses or contacts, and his eyes were a little irritated Friday afternoon, but he was optimistic about the difference it would make.
“When I was in the doctors’ office, I was still dilated, and I was seeing things much clearer,” Uggla said. “So I’m excited about it.”
He hopes to wear contacts for the remainder of the season and have laser surgery after the season. Uggla said doctors estimated he would need a two-week stint on the disabled list to recover from surgery.
“Everyone I’ve talked to — I know (Brian McCann) had his struggles with it — said it’s night-and-day difference,” Uggla said of laser surgery.
Braves left-hander Alex Wood has had his own problems with astigmatism as well. The rookie reliever was fitted for contacts Thursday and was wearing them Friday in Milwaukee.
Wood originally tried pitching in glasses, but had to wear regular glasses because his prescription sport goggles haven’t arrived. But during a spot start Tuesday afternoon against the Mets, his glasses kept falling off as he sweated in the heat of the day, and he eventually just put them in his pocket.
Wood played long toss wearing his contacts Thursday and Friday and felt better. He’s had some irritation in his left eye when he struggled to get his contact out Thursday night, but he doesn’t see that as an issue going forward.
“It’s not a big adjustment,” Wood said. “It’s easier than my glasses.”
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