ATLANTA -- So far, the concerns about Dan Uggla's defense that fans and media members expressed when the Braves gave the second baseman a five-year, $62 million contract in January have not been validated. In fact, Uggla has spent the early going of this season a defensive asset.
Uggla ranged to his left, sacrificed his body with an aggressive dive to knock down a Wilson Valdez liner in Saturday's second inning. The 31-year-old quickly rose and fired a strong throw to record the out at first base.
"That's what you're going to see," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think he's playing with the mentality that if he's not going to get a hit, then nobody else is going to get one either. That's the way you want players to be. Going on my five years with him, that's the way he plays the game."
Uggla has been a gritty competitor since introducing himself to the Major League scene in 2006. During his first couple weeks with the Braves, he has already formed a reliable double-play combo with shortstop Alex Gonzalez.
During Saturday's third inning, Gonzalez knocked down a Jimmy Rollins grounder and made a flip to Uggla, who reached to his right to make a barehanded grab before firing to first base to complete the double play.
"I think Gonzo complements him pretty well," Gonzalez said while talking about how his middle infielders have quickly bonded in their first season together.
Smoltz, Glavine on the air for Braves' finale
ATLANTA -- John Smoltz and Tom Glavine were reunited at Turner Field for Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Phillies. Smoltz was a part of TBS' broadcast team while Glavine was helping call the game for the Fox Sports South broadcast for the local audience.
Now that he has ended his storied career and moved away from those days when he teamed with Glavine and Greg Maddux to form some of history's best starting rotations, Smoltz is embracing his role as a broadcaster. He really enjoyed the chance to have fun with some interviews he did with MLB Network during Spring Training.
An avid and talented golfer, Smoltz played a round against each of the five members of the Phillies' vaunted starting rotation. The round, which recently premiered on MLB Network, allowed him to interact with Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton, the Philadelphia quintet that is being compared to the strong staffs Atlanta boasted in the 1990s.
"They're a good group of guys, but they're totally different than we were," Smoltz said. "They're totally laid back and more serious. In their own way, they have fun. But it was unlike the three stooges -- with [Steve] Avery, Doggie [Maddux], me and the more stoic Glavine."
Smoltz answered many of the questions Halladay had about how the Braves' starters of the '90s went about their business.
"It was neat," Smoltz said. "Doc Halladay really wanted to know how we did things. He was more engaging and really a fan. I'm a fan of obviously what he has done."
Actor Temple's role with Braves goes way back
ATLANTA -- As Lew Temple made his way around the Braves' clubhouse before Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Phillies, he had plenty of stories to tell. The accomplished actor worked with Denzel Washington in the hit film Unstoppable and also evaluated specifics with Bobby Cox before the Braves traded Rafael Ramirez to the Astros in 1987.
An avid fan who worked in the Astros' front office during the 1980s, Temple's association with the Braves actually extends back to when he was playing baseball at Rollins College for a man named Howie McCann, who happens to be Brian McCann's father.
"At six years old, Brian was our bat boy," Temple said. "He's such a sweet kid. Howie was great. He always tried to make me a better player, God bless him. He worked a lot harder than he should have."
When Temple left college, he began working with the Astros in their player development and scouting department. During this time, he began interacting with Cox during the early morning hours of the Winter Meetings.
Once Cox, who was serving as the Braves' general manager, was about to deal Ramirez, Temple approached him about the three players he was getting in exchange. Cox then provided him some information about Ramirez, and both men walked away with a sense they could trust each other.
After being told by then Astros general manager Bob Watson that he should pursue his true passion, Temple left baseball to become an actor. He was introduced to the late James Gammon, who is best known in the baseball world for playing the role of Lou Brown, the fictional manager of the Cleveland Indians in the film Major League. When Gammon told Temple he attempted to fashion Brown's character around his favorite Major League manager, Temple took time to put him in touch with Cox, who had already moved back to the bench to resume his successful managerial career with the Braves.
"They're talking in the dugout, and you know Bobby, nothing fazes him," Temple said. "They start talking about coffee or something. They weren't even talking about baseball. When Gammon passed last year, I thought that might be my claim to fame. I actually put Bobby Cox in touch with the man who built a quintessential baseball role around him."
Temple is currently in the Atlanta area filming a movie with Shia La Beouf. When he learned he wouldn't filming Sunday, he called first-base coach Terry Pendleton and arranged to come to Turner Field.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.