David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Dan Uggla is back in the Braves’ lineup this afternoon against the Reds. He declared himself good to go after testing his left calf by running earlier this afternoon.
Uggla was out of the lineup for the second straight game last night, but he smacked a pinch-hit, two-run homer off right-hander Nick Masset in the top of the ninth to lead the Braves to a 6-4 victory.
Uggla is batting .348 with six homers and 11 RBI during his current career-high 13-game hitting streak. While he’s still batting just .195 on the season, his 18 home runs are second among major-league second basemen. Rickie Weeks is first with 19 homers.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.