Dan Uggla was called up today, and he’s starting and batting seventh. Facing Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu is a tough first assignment for a guy the Giants hoped would get more at-bats at Triple-A Fresno. However, even if he fails in this all-important series against the Dodgers, it sounds like the second base job is his until further notice.
“Right now, we’ll see Dan out there. With Dan playing tonight, and of course two left-handers, he’ll be out there,” said Bruce Bochy.
“He’ll get an occasional break here. But as I always say, these players, how they play sometimes controls that. I think right now you’ll see him getting most of the playing time.”
Uggla and Tony Abreu took the roster spots of two injured infielders, Marco Scutaro (back) and Ehire Adrianza (hamstring). Bochy said Abreu was brought up mostly as a left-handed bat off the bench.
To say the Giants don’t have a lot of options at second base is a massive understatement, but Bochy sounded optimistic that Uggla — who was released by Atlanta shortly after the team suspended him one day for an unspecified violation (he showed up late to a game) — can turn things around in a new setting.
“Sometimes change is good for players and we have been through this. You go back to Pat Burrell, last year with Francoeur,” Bochy said.
“I like taking a look at players who have a track record and he has an outstanding track record. For him to be available at that time was perfect for us because we need help at second base.”
Tim Hudson, a former teammate of Uggla’s in Atlanta, publicly vouched for Uggla the day he signed a minor league deal with the Giants. I asked Bochy if Hudson voiced those opinions to him, and what Bochy himself thought of Uggla’s game after facing him several times over the past nine seasons.
“Of course we talked to Timmy. He spoke very highly of Dan. He certainly got his endorsement,” said Bochy.
“Now, as far as what I think of Dan, he’s a guy you feared when he came to the plate. Dangerous hitter, good player. You loved the way he played the game. He was all-out with his style, with his intensity and hustle. He’s a ballplayer. He loves to play the game and he loves to play it right.”
Extra BASGs (injuries edition)
— Brandon Belt is “doing much better,” according to Bochy, who said he’d probably stay on the DL a little longer than seven days, but that depends on how quickly Belt progresses over the next few days. There’s a chance Belt could take BP tomorrow, but you get the feeling the Giants are going to be very cautious here.
— “Angel Pagan has taken live BP the last couple of days. He’s doing well with his rehab and making progress. We’re at live hitting now. That’s a good thing,” said Bochy, who had no update on when Pagan might possibly return to the Giants.
— Joe Panik tested his ankle today with some running, and he’ll be available for double-switch or pinch-hitting duty if needed.
— Dave Righetti has recovered enough from his battle with the “crud” to resume his normal duties, including any necessary mound visits. Bochy said they’d keep an eye on him tonight, with Mark Gardner taking over if Righetti starts feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
— I saw Brian Wilson river-dancing briefly while the Dodgers were struggling. Guess that 5.40 ERA hasn’t dampened his spirits any.