The Union Recorder

Local Sports

January 24, 2013

Braves' McCann aiming to be ready for opening day

(Continued)

ATLANTA —

If doctors hold firm to six months from the surgery for McCann's recovery, he would be cleared on April 15. If so, he would miss two weeks — a small price if it helps to raise the odds McCann can return to his All-Star form.

"I think his mindset is that he's going to be ready," Wren said. "Our doctors would rather be safe than sorry and will probably pull the reins back some. But if everything goes well in spring training, I don't think it will be more than a couple weeks before he is ready to rejoin us. I know that's probably two weeks too long for him, but we don't want to put him in a situation where he has any major setbacks."

McCann, who will be 29 when the season opens, is a career .279 hitter. His string of six straight All-Star appearances began in 2006, his first full season. He has hit at least 20 homers six times and has three seasons with more than 90 RBIs.

The Braves lost backup catcher David Ross, who signed with Boston. McCann's new backup is Gerald Laird, who played with Detroit last season.

Last season's low point for McCann came when he was left out of the starting lineup for the Braves' wild-card loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. He finished the season with respectable power numbers — 20 homers and 67 RBIs — but he hit only .219 with seven homers and 21 RBIs after the All-Star break.

"He was swinging almost one-armed," said Braves second baseman Dan Uggla. "It's tough. But he's tough and such a competitor that he was going to play through the pain.

"I knew it was bothering him. You could tell after watching him hit and play for the last seven years he wasn't doing the things I was used to seeing him doing. I knew something wasn't right."

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