McCann flashes thunder for Rome

Rehabbing Braves catcher homers twice, drives in four runs

By Jonathan Raymond / Special to | April 26, 2013 7:20 PM ET

Brian McCann hit 12 homers during his one season with Class A Rome as a 19-year-old in 2003. Making a rehab appearance in the South Atlantic League a decade later, he replicated one-sixth of that production in a one game.

McCann homered twice, going 2-for-3 with two walks, four RBIs and three runs scored on Friday night as the Braves beat the Greensboro Grasshoppers, 10-6.

The Atlanta catcher is rehabbing with the R-Braves as he returns from offseason shoulder surgery. While it must have been nice for the Braves front office to see McCann swinging the bat so well, the six-time All-Star said he was most concerned with how his arm felt.

And the results couldn't have been better.

"Today was all about how the ball came out of my hand and I felt as good as I could've felt," McCann said. "I was extremely happy with how it went. The ball came out good, I was throwing down [to second bsae] in the high 1.8s, low 1.9s, got very excited."

McCann, who spent the last month at extended spring training, also said he expects to remain with Rome until Wednesday before likely continuing his rehab about 90 minutes away with Triple-A Gwinnett. And, he admitted, the home runs didn't hurt.

"Anytime you hit home runs, it's a good night," he said. "I've worked hard on my swing to come out here, and to get pitches to hit and not miss them means I'm on the right track."

The 29-year-old, who has batted .279/.351/.475 with 156 homers and 604 RBIs in an eight-year Major League career, said he enjoyed being able to rejoin Rome, both to see some old coaches and pass along whatever advice he could to the Braves' young Minor Leaguers.

"This is one of those things where these guys are just starting their professional careers. I was in their shoes at one point," he said. "It's always great to share the knowledge I've learned over the years to guys that are just starting out. And today was good for that. I was able to talk to some guys on the bench, talk baseball, talk hitting -- there are a lot of good players on this team.

"It was fun to get back out here. I was here in 2003, so it was special to me. I've played for [Rome manager] Randy Ingle, Bobby Moore was my hitting coach. Mike Dunn, the [general manager] of Rome was there when I was here, [pitching coach] Derrick Lewis. I've got really, really close relationships with these guys, so to spend four or five days with them, it means the world to me."

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez told that the full rehab schedule for McCann is expected to include five games with Rome and five with Gwinnett, with a return to the big leagues possible in early May.

On Friday, second baseman Levi Hyams went 3-for-6, doubled and scored three times out of the two-hole in the Rome lineup. Josh Elander and Casey Kalenkosky also went deep.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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