Braves bench struggling Uggla, Prado in starter's role

Mon Sep 3, 2012 4:44pm EDT

Atlanta Braves Dan Uggla hits a three-run home run off Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Drew Hutchison (not shown) in the third inning at their MLB Inter -League baseball game at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia June 9, 2012. REUTERS/Tami Chappell

Atlanta Braves Dan Uggla hits a three-run home run off Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Drew Hutchison (not shown) in the third inning at their MLB Inter -League baseball game at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia June 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tami Chappell

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(Reuters) - All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla was benched by the Atlanta Braves in a protracted move after struggling with his hitting over the past three months.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez replaced Uggla with Martin Prado for Sunday's game against the Colorado Rockies and said on Monday he would use Prado as his starting second baseman over the next few weeks.

"It's not a doghouse situation," Gonzalez told reporters. "It's a situation where you feel you have to do something for the team. I think he took it the right way.

"Obviously, it's uncomfortable and it's hard, especially with the relationship I have with him," added Gonzalez, who was with Uggla at the Miami Marlins from 2007-10.

Three-times All-Star Uggla is hitting only .208 this season, and has batted just .152 with a .276 slugging percentage in the 73 games he has played dating back to June 6.

"I understand what my numbers are. I'm not blind to any of that, but at the same time, I'm part of the team that got us to where we are now," the 32-year-old Uggla said.

"Numbers do not mean anything to me in September. Some people don't see it that way. Do I agree with it? No. But it's not my call. All I can do is pull for my team mates and do what I can when I get an opportunity."

Atlanta trail the pacesetting Washington Nationals by six-and-a-half games in the National League East division but they are well positioned, along with the St. Louis Cardinals, in the wild-card race.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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