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Is It Too Little, Too Late for Dan Uggla?


  Dan Uggla’s .240 average isn’t going to win him any batting titles.

But his single in the bottom of the 11th inning on Tuesday won the game for the Marlins – 9-8 over the Houston Astros -- and raised his average to its highest point since April 19.

It’s been that kind of year for Uggla.

“This season has been a struggle,” Uggla said.

>Going into Wednesday, Uggla had gone 12 for his past 26 with seven walks since belting a game-tying home run against the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 2.

“Everyone knows I’m not going to hit. 300,” said Uggla, who brought a career .262 average into the season. “But I can get it to something respectable, like .250 or .260, that’ll mean I’ve had a really good second half.”

Uggla had three hits, including a double and two RBI, in Tuesday’s extra-inning victory over the Astros.

“I don’t look at the numbers,” Uggla said. “That’s how I work, not knowing and not worrying about all that stuff. I’m not one of those hitting gurus that studies film and all that stuff. All I know is more balls I’m hitting the last how-many-ever days have found holes.”

Uggla, who averaged 30 home runs in his first three big-league seasons, is on pace to finish with close to that number again. But he’s hit just .235 since last year’s All-Star Game, when he made three errors, struck out three times and grounded into a double play.

 “I’ve had a worse first half than I’ve ever had before, so I’m trying to make the second half better,” he said. “The biggest thing for me this year was just being able to recognize a pitch and not trying to guess so much. Lately, I’ve been able to do that.”

       ANIBAL SANCHEZ ON THE MOUND TONIGHT: Anibal Sanchez gets the ball tonight for Double A Jacksonville when they take on Tennessee at 7:15. Sanchez didn't allow a hit in his most recent rehab outing for Single A Jupiter, going 6 2/3 innings in that one. The Marlins plan to give Sanchez one more rehab start after this one. Hard to believe that Sanchez has gone just 8-11 since throwing his no-hitter on Sept. 6, 2006.

      THIS DATE IN HISTORY: The Marlins began the day 3 1/2 games behind Philadelphia in the NL East. That's the second-closest they've been to first place on this date. Last year's team was 1 1/2 games behind.