Sunday, February 17, 2013
Pivotal time for McCann
By Doug Mittler
The next two months will go a long way toward determining Brian McCann's future.
The Atlanta Braves catcher has progressed since undergoing shoulder surgery in October, but he's still not close to 100 percent, and is very unlikely to be ready to go by the club's first regular season game.
The fortunes of the re-tooled Braves could depend on the health of the six-time All-Star backstop who saw his batting average plummet 40 points last season. McCann had career-worsts in most offensive categories, hitting .230 with 67 RBI, a .300 OBP and a .399 slugging percentage.
While there is a possibility McCann will miss at least the first few weeks of the regular season, he is entering camp with the hope of being ready on Opening Day, writes MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. Until McCann can go, catching duties will belong to veteran Gerald Laird, who signed as a free agent in November.
There is plenty at stake for McCann, whose $12 million team-option was picked up this offseason, but it's the final year of his contract -- and there are no assurances whatsoever that he’ll be re-signed, says David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. At this stage, McCann is the top catcher available for free agent at the end of the 2013 season, a list that includes Jarrod Saltalamacchia. If McCann, who turns 29 this month, is to cash in on free agency, he needs a healthy and productive season.