What began as a disappointing afternoon for the Atlanta Braves ended on a positive note, as catcher Brian McCann was chosen to replace his teammate, first baseman Freddie Freeman, on the National League All-Star team.
NL manager Bruce Bochy selected McCann, who was the Most Valuable Player of the 2010 All-Star Game thanks to a game-winning three-run double — which led to Bochy’s San Francisco Giants having home-field advantage when they defeated the Texas Rangers in five games in that year’s World Series — to take the place of Freeman, who after winning the league’s Final Vote will now be forced to sit out the Midsummer Classic due to a left-thumb injury.
“Freddie’s carried us,” McCann told Eric Single of MLB.com. “It’s unfortunate that he won’t be able to play in the game. I’m happy to be going in his place. I’m glad someone in this clubhouse got to go in his place, but I feel bad for him that he won’t be able to enjoy it on the field.”
The selection is McCann’s seventh and is perhaps the most surprising trip he has ever made to the All-Star Game, which takes place on Tuesday at the New York Mets‘ Citi Field. After all, despite the fact that the 29-year-old has batted .291 with 12 home runs, 32 RBIs and a .374 on-base percentage, he missed the first month-plus of the season following offseason shoulder surgery, which set him back a bit.
“It’s huge,” McCann said. “A lot of hard work went into this winter to be in this position. The rehab that I put in, it’s all paying off right now.”
Maybe it’ll pay off on Tuesday as well, perhaps with another clutch hit.