PHILADELPHIA -- When manager Fredi Gonzalez placed Dan Uggla in the seventh spot of his lineup, he was unaware he had done the same thing exactly a year ago when the All-Star second baseman was also in the midst of a bad slump. Now, Gonzalez and Uggla can only hope that history repeats itself.
When Uggla was last positioned in the seventh spot on July 5-6, 2011, he was hitting below .180. The two-hit game he enjoyed against the Rockies on July 5, 2011, marked the start of the Atlanta-record 33-game hitting streak that completely altered his season.
"Why didn't you guys tell me that yesterday so I could have batted him seventh on July 5 again," Gonzalez said when a media member informed him of it on Friday afternoon.
As Uggla prepares for his first start in an All-Star Game on Tuesday, he finds himself in a slump that has progressively become more maddening over the past month. Since his four-hit game in Miami on June 5, he has batted .106 (9-for-85) with three extra-base hits.
Through the Braves' first 82 games, Uggla has batted .225 with 11 home runs, a .355 on-base percentage and a .394 slugging percentage. At this same point last year, he was batting .178 with 12 home runs a .247 on-base percentage and .340 slugging percentage.
Avilan's dream of reaching Majors comes true
PHILADELPHIA -- Luis Avilan had to take a second to figure where he was when he awoke in his Philadelphia hotel room on Friday morning. On Wednesday, the left-handed pitcher was preparing to make the jump from Double-A Mississippi to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Avilan's unexpected leap to the Majors was created when the Braves had to make a decision about Jonny Venters after he struggled during Wednesday's game against the Cubs. By the time the decision was made to place Venters on the disabled list on Thursday, Avilan was already on his way to Atlanta with the knowledge that he was about to spend his first day as a Major Leaguer.
"This is unreal," said Avilan, who started dreaming of reaching the Majors more than a decade ago when he was watching his favorite player Andres Galarraga play for the Braves. "It's a dream come true. When you sign your first [professional] contract, you wait your whole career to be here. When you finally make it, you don't want to wake up from your dream."
Avilan remembers getting a chance to see the Braves play the Rays in the first of two exhibition games played near his hometown in Venezuela before the start of the 2000 season.
Making his third one-inning appearance for the Gulf Coast League Braves on Friday, Peter Moylan allowed three hits, including a home run. But the veteran reliever, who is attempting to return from shoulder surgery, said that he felt good.
When Jason Heyward and Brian McCann hit two-run home runs in Thursday's win over the Cubs, it marked the first time in nearly 10 years the Braves hit more than one first-inning home run with at least one guy on base. Chipper Jones hit a three-run home run and Javy Lopez hit a two-run shot off Kaz Ishii in the opening frame of an Aug. 25, 2002, game against the Dodgers.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.