Dan Uggla Newsbeat
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Is it ableist to keep the good players and unload a few Ugglas?
[Dan] Uggla’s disastrous 2014 with the Braves (and briefly the Giants) left him in this position, forced to accept a minor-league contract with the Nationals and nothing more than an opportunity to compete for a spot on the big-league roster.
Thing is, Uggla’s performance this spring suggests he is worthy of making a big-league club. An 0-for-3 showing Saturday in Port St. Lucie dropped his batting average from .303 to .278, but he still sports a .422 on-base percentage, .922 OPS, only seven strikeouts in 36 at-bats and renewed confidence after undergoing a breakthrough vision treatment program…
What, then, do the Nationals do with Uggla?...
the 35-year-old admitted he wouldn’t be real comfortable in a reserve role.
“I’d have to say no,” he said. “I’ve never done it before. It’s not where I feel like I’m at in my career. That’s not what I’m looking to do.”
That puts the Nationals in a tough spot. They’ve probably seen enough this spring to be convinced Uggla can help them, but how exactly would he fit on their roster? And given that he has an opt-out in his contract, according to sources familiar with the deal, he won’t remain in the organization unless he makes the Opening Day roster.
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Was blind but now can see?
Donatelli trains willing athletes to improve their vestibular system — colloquially known as the inner ear, the system that controls balance. That system aids the eyes in focusing on a target even while the body and head are moving. Dysfunction in the vestibular system can affect an athlete’s ability to see things in motion, such as a baseball hurtling his way while his head and body are rotating to hit it.
Head trauma can cause dysfunction in the vestibular system. Uggla was hit in the head by a pitch in July 2012 and again in the back of the head by a pitch during spring training in 2013. Uggla himself did not definitively classify his reaction as a concussion, and Donatelli said Uggla did not have the symptoms — dizziness, nausea, etc. — that would have alerted the Braves that any kind of severe head trauma had taken place.
. . .
When Uggla got there, Donatelli ran him through 12 tests that helped assess his vestibulo-ocular reflex. Uggla failed them all. Donatelli moved Uggla’s head to the left and right and asked him to read an eye chart. Uggla, who had Lasik surgery when he initially had trouble seeing the ball in 2012, had 20-15 static vision. With his head moving, that vision dropped to 20-100.
“I can’t tell when I’m sitting here talking to you. Before [going to Donatelli], I would think I can see you just fine,” said Uggla, who will turn 35 in March. “But I guess when I get on the baseball field and my head starts moving around . . . it was kind of bad.”
Donatelli pushed Uggla through exercises such as jumping on a trampoline blindfolded or reading while moving his head. Those movements isolated Uggla’s vestibular system and forced his eyes and inner ear to recalibrate.
If this can save the career of a wretch like Uggla . . .
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