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CATCHER MCCANN COULD BE READY FOR 2013
Mon, 22 Oct 2012 09:51 PM EDT

Brian McCann’s agent said the Atlanta Braves catcher is expecting to be ”completely healthy” for the 2013 season following surgery on his right shoulder.

McCann’s rehab could last 6 months, so his standing for the opening month of next season is doubtful. The Braves, in the meantime, must decide this month on their $12 million option on McCann for 2013.

Tuesday’s surgery by Dr. Xavier Duralde repaired McCann’s torn labrum. The Atlanta Braves say the tear was larger than predicted.

McCann’s agent, B.B. Abbott, asserted the 6-time All-Star is expecting a full recovery.

McCann, 28 years old, is expected to come back to light baseball activities in about 4 months. The full clearance could come 2 months later in April, the season’s opening month.

Braves general manager Frank Wren was attending organizational meetings in Orlando on Wednesday and couldn’t be reached for comment on McCann.

The team must decide within 3 days of the end of World Series on contract options for McCann and starting pitcher Tim Hudson, for $9 million.

Abbott recounted he has been given ”no indication about the Atlanta Braves” intentions” on McCann.

The shoulder problem didn’t affect McCann’s throwing but it hampered his hitting. He set a career low with his .230 batting average. He hit 20 homers with 67 RBIs in 121 games. He also was slowed by tendinitis in his right knee.

McCann was notably left out of the starting lineup for the Braves’ wild-card loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said McCann would have started if the team advanced to the division series.

McCann, a career .279 hitter, began a string of 6 straight All-Star appearances in 2006, his 1st full season. He has hit 20 or even more homers 6 times and has 3 seasons with over 90 RBIs. Basketball spreads

Wren knows he must replace 3rd baseman Chipper Jones, who is retiring. Centerfielder and leadoff hitter Michael Bourn could be difficult to re-sign as a free agent.

When discussing about his offseason outlook the day following the wild-card loss, Wren indicated his plans next season included McCann.

”To be honest with you, I feel just like this is a more focused offseason,” Wren said. ”I’m looking forward to it because I think there is a narrower focus of what we need. We’ve got a lot of good young players in place and we need to determine what we do in center field … And we must work out how we replace Chipper. Beyond that, our club is pretty solid.”

There’s a $500,000 buyout if the Atlanta Braves don’t pick up the option on McCann’s deal.

Backup catcher David Ross, who will be a free agent, has been a productive fill-in for McCann, Ross will be 36 next season. ”He’s been real valuable in that backup role and we’ll continue to look to have him back,” Wren recounted.

Wren may have to look for help at catcher regardless of whether McCann returns and Ross is re-signed. A veteran could be signed for depth in case McCann is not ready for the start of the season.


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