SAN FRANCISCO -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has provided Dan Uggla time to work through his offensive struggles as they have mounted over the past three months. But after watching his team have a late-season collapse last year, Gonzalez will not be as patient down the stretch this year.
Instead of continuing to put Uggla in the starting lineup on a daily basis with the hope that he will turn things around, Gonzalez will pay closer attention to matchups over the next few weeks. Such was the case Sunday night, when he did not put Uggla in the lineup to face Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum.
Uggla has gone hitless in 10 at-bats with six strikeouts in his career against Lincecum.
"Why keep running him out there?" Gonzalez said. "That does not do him any good and it does not do us any good. So we're going to pick our spots with him a little bit."
Uggla will likely be back in the lineup Monday when the Padres start Casey Kelly, who will be making his Major League debut.
It appeared Uggla might be heading in the right direction when he recorded a pair of multiple-hit games in a three-game series against the Phillies in early August. But the veteran second baseman has batted .137 with three home runs and a .353 slugging percentage in the 16 games that have followed.
Uggla has batted .143 with five home runs and a .250 slugging percentage in the 68 games he has played since hitting a pair of home runs in a four-hit game June 5. The batting average and slugging percentage stand as the lowest marks compiled by any qualified Major League players during that span.
After struggling through the first three months last year, Uggla produced a stunning 33-game hitting streak and compiled his fifth consecutive 30-homer season.
"We need to get him straight," Gonzalez said. "That's a big bat. [Braves hitting coach Greg Walker] feels like we can get him straight and get him going in the right direction."
Chipper playing it safe with oblique injury
SAN FRANCISCO -- Chipper Jones does not seem to be too concerned about his sore left oblique muscle. But as he prepares for the final month of his storied career and one last chance to help the Braves reach the postseason, he is not going to risk aggravating the ailment.
"It's not anything that will keep me out a week or two as long as I am smart with it," Jones said.
Jones initially felt some discomfort when he fouled a pitch delivered by Giants left-handed reliever Javier Lopez in the ninth inning of Friday night's loss. The 40-year-old third baseman completed the at-bat in cautious fashion. But he was left out of the starting lineup for the final two games of this weekend's series.
"[Braves head athletic trainer Jeff Porter] seems to think it's progressing well and maybe in a day or two," manager Fredi Gonzalez said when asked when Jones might return to the lineup.
Jones seemed hopeful that he will be able to return to his regular duties either Monday or Tuesday against the Padres.
Jones was unavailable to pinch-hit during Saturday's win over the Giants. But based on the improvement he realized overnight, he returned to the ballpark Sunday with a sense that he might be able to come off the bench if necessary.
After completing his first three plate appearances from the left side of the plate during Friday night's game, Jones turned around to the right side to face Lopez in the ninth inning. He felt a slight pull in his left side when he fouled a pitch down the left-field line. The at-bat concluded with him taking a weak, protective swing that produced an infield popup.
Martin Prado started at four different positions -- left field, shortstop, third base and second base -- during the four-game series against the Giants.
Prado recorded his 15th stolen base during Saturday's win over the Giants. Michael Bourn and Jason Heyward had previously reached that mark. The last time the Braves had three players with 15 stolen bases was in 2000 (Rafael Furcal, Andruw Jones and Reggie Sanders).
When the Braves added a run in the top of the ninth inning Saturday, Craig Kimbrel was denied a save opportunity. The All-Star closer entered Sunday having made five appearances since last getting a save opportunity Aug. 3.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.