The Atlanta Braves have been boosted by the news the veteran catcher Brian McCann is hoping to make an opening day return to the team's starting lineup according to quotes from the player in a Jan. 23, 2013, interview with ESPN.
McCann struggled last season at the plate only hitting .230 with 20 home runs and 67 runs batted in. His average was .49 below his career average of .279 and failed to make the MLB all-star rosters for the first time in seven years after six straight appearances for the Braves.
The 28-year-old catcher knows that he has a long tough road of recovery ahead of him, but he is more than ready for the challenge:
I'm going to have to persuade a lot of people. 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.
Although McCann has vision of pushing through his rehab and getting on the field for opening day, the six month schedule for his shoulder to recover from surgery according to Associated Press has the player returning two weeks into the regular season in mid April rather than at the beginning as he hopes.
Braves General Manager Frank Wren will more than likely hope that McCann's doctors and the Braves medical staff do not clear him until they know for sure that he can take being hit at the plate by the first player that he has to take on:
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. 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.
I think his mindset is that he's going to be ready. 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.
Newly acquired backup catcher Gerald Laird former of the Detroit Tigers is expected to have his hands full the first two weeks of the season, but it is certain that McCann will do all that he can to try and make sure that doesn't have to happen.
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