Braves will get McCann back Sunday as injury list begins to shrink

Brian Michael McCann was born Feb. 20, 1984 in Athens, Georgia. McCann's dad was an assistant baseball coach at the University of Georgia when McCann was born. McCann was drafted by the Braves in the second round of the 2002 draft out of Duluth (Ga.) High School. McCann made his MLB debut June 6, 2005, a member of the "Baby Braves" of that season. As a rookie, McCann helped the Braves win the final of their 14 consecutive division titles, an MLB record. In his first postseason plate appearance, McCann hit

The Braves plan to activate catcher Brian McCann on Sunday as the team gradually reduces its crowded injured list.

McCann is eligible to come off the 10-day IL Saturday, but will wait another day for the roster limit to expand at the start of September “so we don’t have to make another move” to clear a spot for him, Braves manager Brian Snitker said Friday.

McCann has been sidelined with a sprained left knee since Aug. 21.

Until Sunday, the Braves will try to get by with one catcher, Tyler Flowers, if they can.  Francisco Cervelli, signed last week after he was released by the Pittsburgh Pirates, was removed from Wednesday's game after developing a cramp in his left quad while running the bases.

“Francisco, we’re going to try to stay away from him for a couple of days,” Snitker said Friday, “but he’s good to go. … He’ll be able to manage it if he has to play, and he might if we’re late in the game and have to run for (Flowers).”

In addition to McCann, the Braves also will get outfielder Austin Riley back from the injured list soon. He is on a rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett after missing about two weeks with a partially torn ligament in his right knee. 

“We’ll talk internally and see what the timing will be on when we bring (Riley) up,” Snitker said.

Two other injured outfielders, Nick Markakis and Ender Inciarte, also are making progress, although their returns likely remain weeks away at best. Markakis, out since July 26 with a broken left wrist, was playing catch Friday afternoon at SunTrust Park. Inciarte, out since Aug. 16 with a right hamstring strain, was swinging a bat in an indoor batting cage.

The Braves got shortstop Dansby Swanson back from the injured list earlier this week after he missed 30 games with a badly bruised heel.

The Braves have navigated the onslaught of injuries well so far. They entered Friday’s game against the Chicago White Sox with nine wins in their past 11 games and 12 in their past 16.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries, and we didn’t really know how we were going to handle it, but we’ve done a great job,” said outfielder Matt Joyce, who is batting .356 with a .976 OPS in 13 starts since Markakis was injured. “Having a deep bench is huge to us and the long-term success.

“I think the teams that go pretty far in the playoffs have a deep bench and can hurt you and win in multiple ways,” Joyce said. “I think that is our case here.”

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