ATLANTA — Brian McCann would like to be behind the plate on opening day and beat the projections which have him missing the start of the season.
Even so, the Braves catcher realizes he must be cautious in his return from major surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
McCann said Wednesday "things are ramping up" midway through his six-month rehabilitation schedule. He began throwing last week and started running two weeks ago.
After making six straight All-Star teams, McCann struggled last season as he tried to play through the injury. He hit only .230, easily a career low and almost 50 points below his career average.
McCann is expected to miss at least the first two weeks of the season. He said his goal is to convince team doctors in spring training otherwise.
He knows it won't be easy.
"I'm going to have to persuade a lot of people," McCann said. "I'm going to have to show them I'm ready to go and my shoulder is healed. I plan on doing that. I don't know if that's going to happen, but that's my mindset. I want to be ready as soon as possible. I keep getting better each day."
Braves general manager Frank Wren said doctors who will be wary of clearing the catcher for jarring hits which could cause a setback to the shoulder.
"With the surgery he had, he'll be able to hit, he'll be able to throw, he'll be 100 percent in those areas in spring training," Wren said. "It's just the last risk factor is diving and sliding. That's the area in the shoulder repair our doctors want to make sure is healed. The only way you can do that is with time. You can't rehab it to make it heal faster. That's going to be the last thing before they turn him loose."