MIAMI (AP) -The Florida Marlins are a surprising first-place team thanks in part to Dan Uggla's strong swing.
Not that it's something he wants to dwell on.
``I've been humbled so many times,'' Uggla said. ``I've just been on cloud nine, then brought back down to reality quicker than you can imagine. It's gotten to the point where I know baseball will humble you.''
Reality - at least during the month of May - hasn't been so bad for the Marlins and Uggla, who hit his 10th homer of the month Tuesday in a 3-2 win over Arizona. It was his 14th home run this season.
``He's getting some pitches to hit and not missing them,'' manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``He's swinging a hot bat right now.''
Going into Wednesday night's game against the Diamondbacks, Uggla was batting .441 in May with 20 RBIs. For the season he was at .323 despite a slow start, with 32 RBIs and 31 extra-base hits, second-most in the majors.
``You make mistakes and he is going to hurt you,'' Marlins pitcher Mark Hendrickson said. ``Right now he's going so well, and it's a credit to him because he was really struggling at the beginning of the year. Now he's as hot as he can be.''
Few swing harder than Uggla. He had 83 extra-base hits last year and is on a pace for more than 110 this season. The only second baseman with consecutive seasons of at least 80 extra-base hits was Rogers Hornsby, who did it in 1921-22 and 1924-25.
``Once I see the ball in a zone that I can hit it, I'm not swinging for a single,'' Uggla said. ``I'm trying to hit that thing as hard as I can.''
He has a distinctive hitting style, waggling his bat before the pitch. He said he adopted the mannerism in 2004, when he was playing the Texas League and looking for a way to boost his average.
``I had already tried everything in the book,'' Uggla said. ``It's just something that gets me going, I guess.''
In December 2005, Florida selected Uggla in the Rule 5 draft from Arizona, and the following year he became the starting second baseman. Uggla batted .282 with 27 home runs in 2006 and was the first Rule 5 selection to make the All-Star team as a rookie.
He is one of several Marlins approaching first-year arbitration. The historically frugal team had a major league-low $22 million payroll on opening day, but last week signed another member of the 2006 rookie class, Hanley Ramirez, to a $70 million, six-year contract.
It's unclear whether the Marlins will try to reach a long-term deal with the 28-year-old Uggla, but he has no complaints about the way management has treated him.
``A lot of people will criticize the Marlins for doing things the way they do things,'' Uggla said. ``You're not going to hear me criticize for the way they do things, because if it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be over here. I would have never gotten the chance to do what I done.''

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