Uggla's six a fine showing in Derby

Uggla's six shots a fine showing in Derby

NEW YORK -- When the news broke that Dan Uggla would participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby, his Marlins teammate Luis Gonzalez had plenty of advice for him.

"Get that first one," the 2001 Derby champ said. "Just get that first one. You don't want to get shutout."

Not the most helpful of advice.

"It's like, 'Thanks, buddy,'" Uggla joked. "He's been giving me grief about it all week. He's been giving me tips. He's been awesome. I can't say enough about Luis. I'm just going to go out and swing hard and hit as many as I can."

Uggla, who led off the competition, did just that -- and he managed to avoid going homerless. What he didn't do was advance to the second round after hitting six.

"It felt good," Uggla said. "It was a lot of fun, a lot of fun. I definitely would have liked to have hit again, but those guys are pretty good."

The Marlins second baseman finished the first round with six homers, which tied him for fifth with Grady Sizemore. The top four of Josh Hamilton, Lance Berkman, Justin Morneau and Ryan Braun advanced.

Hamilton outpaced everyone else with 28 in the first round, a display that had fans and players alike in awe. Morneau, however, took the final round from Hamilton, 5-3.

"He displayed how talented he is, and just how good he is," Uggla said of Hamilton. "It's not easy to do. He made this ballpark look small -- and it's not a small ballpark."

While some came to the Derby with their own batting practice pitchers, Uggla chose to take whoever was available, so as not to have one of his coaches have to give up All-Star break time with their families.

Rockies coach Mike Gallego threw to Uggla, who hit the first two he swung at for home runs. He also finished strong hitting the "money ball" out, which meant another $17,000 went to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

As he walked into the New York night with his family, Uggla took with him some good memories.

"It was an all right number," he said of his six, which matches his uniform number. "It kind of stunk leading the thing off, but that's just the way it goes sometimes."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.