KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Slow starts in spring training mean nothing to Dan Uggla.
Mostly quiet in his first few games, Uggla hit a long double and hard single Friday for a split squad of Atlanta Braves in a 7-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Uggla was an All-Star with Florida before getting traded to Atlanta in the offseason. He is reuniting with former Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, who was fired last summer and later hired by the Braves.
Uggla started this spring with two singles in 10 at_bats. No worries, though, for Gonzalez.
``I've seen him for four springs and he always starts like this,' Gonzalez said. ``A couple of years ago he started, I think, 0 for 22 and he made the All-Star team. I don't worry about him at all. This was typical and he was hitting it pretty hard today.'
Uggla said he wasn't pressing in his first camp with the Braves.
``I'm just happy to be here,' Uggla said. ``I loved playing for the Marlins but it was business deal and I am comfortable here, playing for Fredi again.'
Toronto's Jesse Litsch fared well in his second start of the spring, shutting out the Braves over three innings. He struck out four, allowing one hit.
``We have two spots in the rotation up for grabs,' manager John Farrell said. ``If he keeps going like this, he has a great chance. He looked really good today.'
Litsch was 1-5 in nine starts last season, but Farrell said he sees a new pitcher this year.
``He's getting better,' Farrell said. ``The competition is still open, but he made a statement today.'
The Braves led 5-3 going into the eighth, but the Blue Jays scored twice off George Sherrill and two more in the ninth off Peter Moylan. Jason Lane and Brian Jeroloman had RBI singles for the Blue Jays in the ninth.
Braves starter Mike Minor allowed one earned run in three innings, but he battled out of jams throughout.
NOTES: Chipper Jones played DH one day after making his spring debut in the field. He said he felt some discomfort but is planning to play both games this weekend. He went 1 for 4 ands scored a run, and is batting .286 this spring. Gonzalez said Jones would likely DH on Saturday and play third on Sunday. ... Gonzalez said OF Jason Heyward may play on Sunday. He has been out with a groin injury.
The Associated Press News Service
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