Mud Hens' McCann relaxed and ready

Tigers' No. 8 prospect goes 4-for-5, extends hit streak to eight games

James McCann has a .988 OPS and seven RBIs in nine July games for Toledo. (Scott W. Grau/

By Robert Emrich / | July 13, 2014 1:25 AM ET

James McCann is relaxed at the plate and that's making opposing pitchers tense.

The Tigers' eighth-ranked prospect extended his hitting streak to eight games on Saturday night, going 4-for-5 with two RBIs to lead Triple-A Toledo to a 10-5 thrashing of visiting Pawtucket.

McCann wasted little time, hitting the first of his two doubles in the second inning. He doubled again in the third to score Mike Hessman, then capped the scoring with an RBI single in the eighth.

"I was able to stay relaxed and take care of business and let my abilities take over," said McCann, who also scored three times.

The 24-year-old catcher has eight hits over his last three games and is batting .438 (14-for-32) during the streak. Seven of those 14 hits have been doubles and he's driven in seven runs in his last eight games.

"The biggest thing is staying relaxed," McCann said. "When you're going through a bit of a funk you start to overthink things, try to do too much. I've been trying to stay as simple and as basic as possible and stay relaxed from the minute I step in the box."

With one game to go until the Triple-A All-Star break, McCann is batting .290 and is tied for ninth in the International League with 22 doubles. It was the fourth four-hit game of the season for the University of Arkansas product, who went 4-for-5 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 8. Despite that effort, he struggled last month with a .244 batting average and .647 OPS in 21 games.

"Pressing, trying to get the big knock in there, trying to do too much at the plate, to be honest," McCann explained. "I've taken a step back, let myself relax and take it day-by-day and not let the big picture get to me."

In July, McCann is batting .389 with seven RBIs and five runs scored in nine games.

Danny Worth also drove in two runs and Ben Guez scored twice for the Mud Hens, who have won three of their last four games.

Corey Knebel (1-1) earned the win in relief, fanning three over 2 1/3 hitless innings.

Pawtucket starter Matt Barnes (4-7) -- the Red Sox's No. 6 prospect -- was charged with seven runs -- six earned -- on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out four.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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