Hot-hitting McCann out of lineup with sore knee

Hot-hitting Braves catcher Brian McCann was out of the lineup Saturday to rest a sore knee, which manager Fredi Gonzalez said was a precautionary move.

“He came in yesterday after the game, his knee was a little sore, and I didn’t want to mess with it and make something small bigger,” Gonzalez said. “So we gave him a day (off).”

Gonzalez had planned to have Evan Gattis catch one of the weekend games against the Marlins, but would have done that in the Sunday afternoon game, following a night game Saturday, if not for the knee.

With McCann resting Saturday, Gonzalez said he hoped to have him back in the lineup for Sunday’s series finale.

McCann hit a home run in Friday’s 5-0 win against Miami and batted .323 with eight doubles, 10 homers and 28 RBIs in his past 34 games, with a .386 OBP and .615 slugging percentage. Despite missing the first five weeks of the season recovering from shoulder surgery, the seven-time All-Star catcher has 17 homers in 71 games (248 at-bats).

Eligible for free agency after the season, McCann has come back strong following a career-worst season in 2012. He hit .278 with a .358 on-base percentage and .524 slugging percentage before Saturday, which would be his highest slugging percentage since a .572 in his first full season in 2006.

His .882 OPS would be the third-highest of his career and highest since an .896 in 2008.

McCann wasn’t available to talk to reporters before batting practice Saturday. Gonzalez was asked if the sore knee was something new for the catcher.

“Yeah,” he said. “When he came out of the bullpen yesterday, warming up (Brandon Beacny), he kind of felt it. We didn’t want to mess with it, so hopefully we get him in there tomorrow.”

McCann was the Braves’ only backup catcher Saturday, since Gerald Laird stayed with Triple-A Gwinnett for one more injury-rehab game.

Laird, who has been on the 15-day disabled list recovering from a kidney-stone removal procedure, will be activated Sunday and outfielder Todd Cunningham will be optioned to Gwinnett to open a roster space.

Rookie Joey Terdoslavich is the Braves’ emergency catcher and has caught bullpen sessions in recent weeks in case he were needed in that capacity.

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