SAN FRANCISCO -- Dan Uggla acknowledged he has "been in some dark places" in the last year and a half, referencing his struggles at the plate that culminated with the Atlanta Braves releasing him earlier this month. The Giants signed Uggla to a minor-league deal, and following a rash of infield injuries, he’s in San Francisco today and in the lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Giants today called up both Uggla and infielder Tony Abreu from Triple-A Fresno, and placed infielders Marco Scutaro (back) and Ehire Adrianza (hamstring) on the 15-day disabled list. They also designated infielder Nick Noonan and pitcher Jose DePaula for assignment to clear spots on the 40-man roster for Uggla and Abreu.
Uggla, who signed with the Giants earlier this week, last played in the majors on July 8 and had only two at-bats with the Braves in July before being released. He was 2-for-7 in his short stint at Triple-A Fresno.
"I did tell him I wanted him to get some more at-bats," manager Bruce Bochy said. "But he’ll grind through it. Is he quite ready? Like I said, it’d be nice to get him a few more at-bats, but it just wasn’t possible with the injuries we’re having right now."
Bochy said for now Uggla will get "most of the playing time" at second base. He figures to start all three games of this series, with the Dodgers throwing left-handers the next two days. Joe Panik, who has a sprained right ankle, is available off the bench today, but with both Scutaro and Adrianza going on the DL and Panik limited, Uggla is the top option.
"I felt good down (in the minors), and they’re kind of banged up here, and needed me to come up, which was fine with me," Uggla said. "I’m always ready for anything and never back down from a challenge."
Bochy said his impression of Uggla during the second baseman’s time in Atlanta was of: "A guy you feared when he came up to the plate." That wasn’t so much the case the past two seasons, however, when Uggla was one of the worst hitters in baseball, batting .179 in 136 games last season and .162 in 48 games this year before his release.
Ideally, Uggla would be an offensive upgrade at second for the Giants, who’ve had light-hitting options there mostly since Brandon Hicks’ torrid April. He said his approach right now is to, "Just stay short. Get the long ball out of my mind and let that happen naturally. Just stay short and put the barrel on it."
Scutaro’s return to the Giants, meanwhile, lasted all of five games before it became clear that he wasn’t close to 100 percent, or in a place where he could be a regular contributor.
"With his back still bothering him some and not being able to use him as much as he would like or we would like, we put him on the disabled list," Bochy said. "We’ll continue treatment through the weekend and try to get him back on this roster as soon as we can."
Adrianza suffered a "minor" hamstring strain in Thursday’s loss to the Phillies, Bochy said, and is going to be out "a little while." Abreu provides another switch-hitting option off the bench, and Bochy said Abreu will likely be used mostly when the Giants need a left-handed hitter. Abreu was batting .281 -- .297 against righties -- in Fresno, where he has played mostly third base and some second this season.
For his first task as a Giant, Uggla draws Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke, who’s 11-6 on the year with a 2.90 ERA. Here’s the full Giants lineup against Greinke:
And the Dodgers’ lineup against Tim Lincecum:
* More injury updates: Brandon Belt is "doing much better," but hasn’t taken batting practice since suffering a concussion and is day-to-day on that. Bochy said Belt likely will remain on the concussion DL past the minimum seven days.
Angel Pagan (back) has taken live batting practice in Arizona the past couple days and is "doing well with his rehab and making progress," Bochy said. But there’s still no target date for Pagan rejoining the Giants.
* Bochy said the Giants won’t be keeping any special watch on Lincecum tonight after he pitched in a game in relief in Philadelphia on Tuesday. The number of pitches Lincecum threw made it like a bullpen session, and it came on a day Lincecum was scheduled to throw between starts anyway.