Brian McCann was sporting a cleanly-shaven head and a smile on his face Monday as he prepared to make his return from shoulder surgery at Great American Ballpark.
At first, he didn’t recognize the new uniform pants in his locker with the thin blue stripe down the side the Braves wear with their blue uniform tops – “Are we doing throwbacks?” - but the rest will come back to him soon enough.
“I’m extremely excited to get going,” McCann said. “I feel like I’ve been away for a while.”
He was six days shy of his seventh-month anniversary since his arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, something that had bothered him the final four months of last season.
“My shoulder feels great,” McCann said. “I didn’t think it’d be feeling this good this early, and I’m extremely excited that it feels the way it does.”
McCann, the five-time Silver Slugger award winner, has felt good at the plate throughout his rehabilitation. It’s the throws to second that were the question, and his shoulder has answered those now too.
“I’m eager to get back on the field, get that feeling again,” McCann said. “A lot of hard work has been put in and there has been a lot of people that have helped me get to this point. And it’s been a long road but a good one.”
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had McCann batting sixth in the lineup Monday night between right-handers Evan Gattis and Dan Uggla. He said he plans to catch McCann the first two days of the Reds series and then catch Gerald Laird in the day game on Wednesday.
He planned to catch McCann the first two games in San Francisco and then rest him on the third game, a day game, as well.
“He ain’t going to be the McCann of old where you can run him in there for six, seven days in a row,” Gonzalez said. “At least not at the very beginning.”
Gonzalez was eager to have McCann’s bat back in the lineup, especially given that he doesn’t traditionally doesn’t strike out much.
“I think he adds a little different dynamic to our lineup right now,” Gonzalez said. “He’s obviously a dangerous hitter but he’s a guy that doesn’t strike out historically. You’ve got him and Gattis in the lineup there that can put the ball in play.”