6/21/2013 8:40 P.M. ET
Uggla wears contacts for first time in a live game
By Ethan Asofsky / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Braves second baseman Dan Uggla is getting a new look.
When he returned to the starting lineup in Friday's series opener in Milwaukee, he was wearing contact lenses in a regular season game for the first time in his career.
"After these two-and-a-half months of not being able to swing at pitches or ducking out of the way of certain pitches that I thought were closer to me than they probably actually were, I needed to see what was going on," Uggla said. "I wasn't really seeing the ball good at all. It just kind of looked like a white blur coming in."
Uggla believes the contact prescription could be a night-and-day fix for his struggling offensive game, which is why he visited the team eye doctor on Thursday to have his sight tested. He had previously been diagnosed with an astigmatism in Spring Training, but Uggla said he didn't take the right approach to wearing contacts at the time.
"I thought I'd instantly be able to see twice as well as I could before," Uggla said. "They couldn't do all the tests that they probably needed to in spring. They couldn't dilate it, because I'd be out a whole day."
Finally, the problem became too grave to ignore any longer. He had his pupils dilated on Thursday, forcing him to miss the series finale against the Mets.
"The only reason he didn't play yesterday is because he had all these tests done, and when they dilate your eyes, it takes a while for them to kind of normalize," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We don't want to throw him out there with dilated pupils when a ball is coming at him 90 mph."
Uggla is still getting used to wearing the contacts. He said it took him several tries to get them in his eye on Friday, but he eventually took swings in batting practice with them. He said he's seeing things much clearer, but he won't know the extent of their impact until he sees in-game pitching.
"I just took some flips in the cage," Uggla said. "You can't tell like that. You can't tell the difference between bad vision and good vision with flips. You're going to see the ball good. Game time will be different."
Uggla is hoping the contacts can hold him over until the season ends, so he can hold off on LASIK eye surgery that'd hold him out of action for a few weeks.
"You've got to be able to see to play this game," Uggla said. "In most every day life, 20/25, 20/30 vision is good. In what we do, if it's not 20/15 or 20/20, then you're going to be in some trouble."
Braves place Pena on disabled list, call up Janish
MILWAUKEE -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez couldn't wait any longer for Ramiro Pena's sore right shoulder to heal.
Atlanta placed the infielder on the 15-day disabled list on Friday and recalled Paul Janish from Triple-A Gwinnett. Pena hadn't played since Sunday with what's currently being diagnosed as a right shoulder strain, and he still didn't feel comfortable throwing after five days of rest. He visited with team doctors, but will also seek an outside opinion.
"The move is we can't use Pena," Gonzalez said. "Sometimes you want to defend and you can't, so we decided to DL him. He's getting all the tests and all that kind of stuff and I'm sure we'll come up with some kind of diagnosis."
In the meantime, Janish received the callup to be used for some late-inning defensive stability. The 30-year-old was plucked from the Reds' Minor League system last season and was called up just before the All-Star break, when shortstop Andrelton Simmons went down with an injury.
Gonzalez touted Janish's defensive ability to play any position in the infield, and he said the right-hander's offensive numbers from last season don't reflect the clutch hits he'd produce during rallies. On Friday, the Braves manager even went so far as to call Janish the most valuable player of last season.
"He saved our butts last year," Gonzalez said. "He comes up, he's a guy that can defend, we know him, we love him, he knows the game, he can play all the positions in the infield, he'll come in late in the game to play defense. He's a guy that you feel comfortable if Simmons needs a day off."
Pena has a history of shoulder problems that dates back to arthroscopic surgery he underwent seven years ago. Gonzalez said the team is hopeful the problem is unrelated and will be merely classified as soreness.
Heyward 'looks like himself' after slow start
MILWAUKEE -- Once again, Jason Heyward is proving he heats up with the weather. Heyward underwent an appendectomy earlier this season that caused him to miss just under a month of action, but the Braves' power-hitting outfielder is finally starting to show signs of his old self.
Heyward is hitting .320 with a .370 on-base percentage, three home runs and five RBIs in the month of June after starting the first 30 games of the season batting .146 with two home runs and eight RBIs.
After 50 games last season, the Braves' power-hitting outfielder was hitting .233 with six home runs and 23 RBIs. He similarly turned it on in June, hitting .348 with six home runs and 23 RBIs.
"He's still learning to manage his own game," Braves hitting coach Greg Walker said. "Sometimes it takes a little while to figure those things out. He's an ultra talent and he's really swinging it well for us this month now. He looks like himself."
Walker said Heyward was working through some timing and mechanics issues -- on top of the appendicitis -- earlier in the season but has looked solid as of late.
"I feel confident every time he goes to the plate that he has a chance to get a base hit," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "His numbers are getting better. His at-bats are getting better. At the end of the year, I think we're going to get a Jason Heyward-type year."
• Braves reliever Alex Wood is available out of the bullpen on Friday after the rookie threw three innings of relief on Wednesday against New York. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he'd like to give right-hander Jordan Walden a break on Friday night after he threw two innings on Thursday.
• Friday night's game in Milwaukee opens a six-day, five-game road trip for the Braves. They'll head to Kansas City for two games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Ethan Asofsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.