8/21/2013 7:22 P.M. ET
Uggla's vision has improved since Lasik surgery
By Chris Iseman / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Only when Braves second baseman Dan Uggla sat down to watch video of his at-bats did he realize just how much his eyes were failing him. Pitches he could've sworn were practically over his head were over the plate. Breaking balls he used to hit looked unrecognizable in the batter's box.
Uggla's vision wasn't terrible, but for someone who makes a living hitting Major League pitching, it certainly wasn't sufficient. So the slugger, who was diagnosed with astigmatism during Spring Training, underwent Lasik surgery on Friday to correct his vision.
So far, the surgery appears to have been successful.
"The little things, I've noticed," Uggla said. "I can see a lot more clear."
Uggla was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 13 so he could undergo the procedure. He was hitting .186 with 21 home runs and 53 RBIs in 112 games this season, with 146 strikeouts. Uggla said at times, it almost looked like there were two pitchers standing on the mound.
Uggla took batting practice at Citi Field on Tuesday, and he will do so again once the Braves get to St. Louis to start their series against the Cardinals on Thursday. He said he's hitting well in batting practice, though it's far different from the pitching he'll see when he gets back into the lineup.
"You can hit BP with bad eyes and make the adjustment accordingly," Uggla said. "It's just when pitchers are throwing as hard as they do with the breaking stuff they do, in order to have any kind of a chance, you need to be able to see pretty good."
Correcting his vision is only half the battle.
Uggla said he still needs to fix his swing and his timing before he starts hitting the way he wants to, but having improved vision should make that easier.
"I've still got to do it physically," Uggla said. "Just getting my eyes fixed, it's not just going to cure everything."
Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said on Tuesday that Uggla will likely be examined by team doctors once more before Uggla plays in a rehab game.
J. Upton out again due to upper back strain
NEW YORK -- Justin Upton was out of the Braves' lineup for the second straight game on Wednesday after sustaining a left upper back strain before Atlanta's loss to New York on Tuesday.
Before the Braves took batting practice prior to the series opener at Citi Field, Upton was taking some swings in the batting cage when he felt the muscle grab on him.
"I was hitting in the cage, and it just tightened up," Upton said.
Upton received treatment immediately, but Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said it never loosened up to the point where he felt comfortable starting him. Gonzalez was hoping some rest overnight would help.
But Upton wasn't in Wednesday's lineup, either. The left fielder received more treatment at Citi Field, but Joey Terdoslavich got the start in left against the Mets.
After the game -- which Atlanta won, 4-1, in 10 innings -- Gonzalez said Upton was available to pinch-hit if the Braves needed him to.
"Hopefully tomorrow he'll keep making good progress that direction and maybe get to play," Gonzalez said.
Upton is hitting .269 with 23 home runs and 62 RBIs this season. He's tied for second in the Major Leagues with seven home runs in August. Upton's been one of the Braves' hottest hitters -- since July 8, Upton is hitting .333 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs in 32 games.
After two days of treatment, Upton is hopeful he can return to the field in St. Louis, where the Braves will open a four-game series on Thursday.
"I continued to get treatment," Upton said. "I think I should be fine for the next series."
Braves claim E. Johnson off waivers from Royals
NEW YORK -- The Braves announced on Wednesday they have claimed infielder Elliot Johnson off waivers from the Royals. Johnson will join Atlanta for its series in St. Louis.
Johnson hit .179 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 79 games for the Royals. The switch-hitter also had 14 stolen bases. Johnson gives the Braves another infielder after Tyler Pastornicky, who was supposed to be Atlanta's second baseman while Dan Uggla is on the disabled list, suffered a season-ending knee injury last Wednesday that required surgery.
"I know he's a good player," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I know we had a chance to get him off waivers. He's a guy that gives us some depth in the infield -- a guy that can steal you a base, switch-hitter."
After Pastornicky sustained his knee injury, Atlanta called up infielder Phil Gosselin from Triple-A Gwinnett. Paul Janish has been starting at second base for the Braves.
Johnson, 29, also spent time in the Major Leagues with the Rays. He played in 123 games for Tampa Bay last season, finishing with a .242 average, six home runs and 33 RBIs.
The Rays traded Johnson in February as the player to be named in the December deal that also sent Wade Davis and James Shields to Kansas City.
The Royals designated Johnson for assignment on Thursday to clear a roster space for Emilio Bonifacio.
Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.