LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Dan Uggla, trying to put 2013 completely in the past, got 2014 off to a good start in the Atlanta Braves’ exhibition opener Wednesday.
The veteran second baseman had a two-out RBI hit in his first at-bat and also singled in his second, going 2-for-2 in the Braves’ 6-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Champion Stadium.
Uggla hit just .179 last season and wasn’t included on the postseason roster as the Braves lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series.
Freddy Garcia started for the Braves and pitched two perfect innings, striking out two and throwing just six balls on 24 pitches.
Kris Medlen, the Braves’ likely starter for the season opener at Milwaukee on March 31, will pitch today at Lakeland in the second straight game against the Tigers.
Justin Upton was scratched from the lineup Wednesday because of a sore right side and won’t make the trip to Lakeland. He may play Friday night against the Houston Astros.
Evan Gattis had an RBI double in the third inning after Uggla had driven in a run in the second. Gattis’ hit scored Chris Johnson, who had doubled.
Ernesto Mejia had two doubles and Todd Cunningham gave the Braves a 5-4 lead with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.
The Tigers, though, rallied to win with two runs in the ninth inning off prospect Shae Simmons as rain, which had fallen for several innings, intensified. The game was called with two outs in the ninth and a runner on base and never resumed.