It is widely known that Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann has been playing hurt for a while. It goes back more than just the last part of last season. The Braves primary catcher has been playing with pain for the better part of the 2010, 2011 and 2012. Last season it grew to the point that, while he played through the pain, he could not have an impact on the game like he wanted. He basically was a shadow of his healthy self. That led to long awaited surgery this off-season.
Most timelines have McCann returning sometime during the latter weeks of April. He said recently that he believes he will be back healthy for opening day. For Braves fans, that should produce a very cautious optimism. On one hand it would be great for McCann to be there for all 162 games with an off day every five days or so. On the other hand, being without him for a couple of weeks beats the heck out of a hurt McCann who cannot perform on his normally high level.
I really hope for the sake of the Braves 2013 season that McCann, the doctors and the team officials take his return and treat it with kid gloves. Don’t let him come back early if he doesn’t need to. 99% healthy for two months is not better than 100% for all but a couple of weeks.
Keep him out until he is ready, please. Not only would that give him the chance to be fully healthy but it also will give a good opportunity for the Braves to get a look at the other options behind him. The backup and future catching options will be very important going into the 2014 season and getting a good few weeks to see them go without McCann might make it extra worth it to give him the first couple of weeks of the 2013 season to ensure his health.