Brian McCann Could Miss Start Of 2013 Season

Braves catcher Brian McCann underwent shoulder surgery today and, due to a larger-than-expected tear of his labrum, will be out of action for 4-6 months according to a team press release (passed on's Mark Bowman).  McCann is expected to resume light baseball activities by mid-February and full activities by mid-April, so it seems likely that the six-time All-Star will miss at least the first couple of weeks of the 2013 season.

The Braves have until three days after the World Series to decide about exercising McCann's $12MM team option for 2013, or they could buy the catcher out for $500K.  The option was thought to be a foregone conclusion despite McCann's career-worst .230/.300/.399 slash line in 487 plate appearances given McCann's track record, the Braves' lack of other catching options and the belief that the surgery would correct the issues that hampered McCann's performance. 

I'd argue that Atlanta is still likely to pick up the option for these reasons, though McCann's chances of receiving a multiyear extension beyond 2013 are very questionable.  The added uncertainty about McCann's health may also cause the team to look for a stable backup option this winter.  There is mutual interest between the Braves and long-time backup David Ross, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but the team doesn't see Ross as a viable everyday solution should McCann be forced to miss an extended period of time.  Ross, a free agent, has a .816 OPS in 663 plate appearances for the Braves over the last four seasons.

35 Responses to Brian McCann Could Miss Start Of 2013 Season Leave a Reply

  1. nm344 3 years ago

    McCann, Hanson, Jurrjens. What was the core of the Braves a few years ago is now crumbling into pieces.

    • Tim Korey 3 years ago

      That’s the beauty of baseball though. Sometimes the “core” can change and it’s for the better. With Simmons, Freeman, Heyward, Minor and Beachy, our future is pretty bright.

      • Colin Christopher 3 years ago

        I’d add Kimbrel to that mix.

      • phillies1102 3 years ago

        (Utley, Howard, Halladay)
        (Reyes, Santana, Davis)
        (Mauer, Morneau, Nathan)
        (Upton, Kennedy, Young)
        (Lee, Rodriguez, Lyon)

        • Let_My_Cameron_Go 3 years ago


          Davis coming off a 32 HR season is crumbling? Mauer (Yes he’s overpaid, not his fault) coming off a .416 OBP season is crumbling? Kennedy coming off a 15 win season, and Upton being just 25 are crumbling? The last example you gave is just silly…

      • james moore 3 years ago


  2. dc21892 3 years ago

    How is this tear larger than expected? Keep playing baseball with it, of course it’s going to get worse. Mines torn at the moment, and I have to be careful over even the little things until December when I get surgery. These things are fragile.

    • kray1000 3 years ago

      Makes sense, but it was larger than expected based on the contrast MRI, which took place AFTER the season.

      • dc21892 3 years ago

        Yeah, but they had to expect the grind of an baseball season to increase the damage. Having a torn labrum and speaking from experience I have had multiple feelings like my shoulder was going to dislocate again, which in turn is putting pressure and possibly damaging the labrum. Granted there are a few different types of labrum tears (mines bankart) I don’t what McCanns is or how he suffered it but to me it doesn’t seem like the medical team should be at all surprised. Usually labrum tears don’t need to be addressed right away, but that doesn’t mean more damage won’t be done.

        • kray1000 3 years ago

          It was a risk both the Braves and McCann were willing to make, given the lack of replacement options for McCann and the fact the Braves were still in the playoff race. In fact, until the Braves did the contrast MRI, they felt like surgery wouldn’t be needed, despite McCann’s comments to the contrary.

          The reason the doctors shouldn’t be surprised is because they should know that MRI’s don’t show everything, not because McCann played with the injury. Again, the MRI occurred after the season. You’re arguing a different point that playing with the injury comes with some risk, and I agree.

          Good luck on your upcoming surgery.

          • dc21892 3 years ago

            True, didn’t realize that. Thanks for the kind words.

  3. Will 3 years ago

    I said a few months ago he needed to just give up on 2012 and have the surgery. It’s not like he made any substantial contributions to the team. In fact, the team would have been better off without him honestly. Should have let Bethancourt come up and get some work in so they could make a better informed decision this offseason. Now the front office doesn’t know what he’ll do against major league pitching, doesn’t know when McCann will be back or if he’ll be 100% when he is, and have to figure out what to do with Ross. Bad situation just bc they wanted to let him play through the pain this year.

    • kray1000 3 years ago

      Bethancourt wasn’t (and isn’t) ready for the majors. He struggled for the most part against AA pitching and wouldn’t have hit any better than McCann did. The Braves would have needed to find another option, most likely via trade. Also, Bethancourt is still recovering from an injury he sustained in August.

      There are no decisions to be made this offseason regarding Bethancourt, and there won’t be until he hits AA and AAA pitching.

    • tomymogo 3 years ago

      Bethancourt had a broken hand also

      • kray1000 3 years ago

        That was the injury I was referring to from August. He supposedly will play 3 innings in an instructional league game today, his first action since the injury. I’d be surprised if Bethancourt didn’t start next year at AA.

        • Jeff 3 years ago

          I think they have to add him to the 40 man soon if they haven’t, so I wouldn’t be shocked if he was rushed to AAA. At the very least he’d have value as a defensive backup C in the majors even if he can’t hit.

          • Matt Talbert 3 years ago

            Evan Gattis will be fine, I’d like to see what he can do.

    • 14 Rocks 3 years ago

      Have you bothered to check Bethancourt’s minor league stats? He couldn’t even hit AA pitching so it’s highly unlikely he could hit major league pitching. The Braves have rushed this kid way too fast and he isn’t close to being major league ready. His OBP last season in the MINOR leagues was something like .278. He needs to spend all of next year in AA and then all of 2014 in AAA so that his bat can develop. Otherwise he may be nothing more than a JC Boscan.

      • Jeff 3 years ago

        As a 2 week option Bethancourt wouldn’t be so bad. He is good defensively at least. Bethancourt and Ross can split things until Mac comes back in Mid-April.

        Also, one other strange possible option, Evan Gattis. AA catcher converted to OF for his bat- kinda a mini-Josh Hamilton story. He might not be ready, but he was going to be given a shot to make the club as an OF next year, why not try him back at C- he wasn’t bad behind the plate.

        • Jwick22 3 years ago

          If gattis is healthy they got to find a spot for him. I think if they can keep ross then let him hold down the fort and let evan catch on his off days

      • CowboyJames 3 years ago

        Where’s Clint Sammons?

      • rundmc1981 3 years ago

        I don’t want to closely compare the two, but many scouted Andrelton Simmons stating that they’d fear his hitting wouldn’t be close to where his fielding (MLB level in the minors) would be. Simmons has been great offensively, which many didn’t expect from his minor league play. Yes, Simmons did win the batting title in the minors the year before he was called up, and Bethancourt has been struggling at the plate, but if McCann is missing the first few weeks of the season, why not try out Ross as a starter spelling him with Bethancourt every 4th day? If nothing else you could depend Bethancourt’s defense, plus learn closely from Ross and build on the relationship with the pitching staff while getting some time with the hitting coaches. I’d feel more confident with Bethancourt learning that way than floundering offensively in the minors, which is what he has been doing, not building any kind of relationship with the MLB staff, unless the Braves FO have serious reservations with Bethancourt being the future backstop.

    • CowboyJames 3 years ago

      I would argue that with Ross also banged up, ending McCann’s season wasnt an option.

  4. KeVin M 3 years ago

    I would be shocked if the Braves didn’t pick up his option especially with Ross being a free agent. What they should do is try and sign him to a long term extension around June when they know he’s completely healthy. He still has at least another good 4 years in the NL in my opinion. He put up 20 HR’s with his injuries this year and when he’s healthy he’s one of the best in the game.

    A year ago it probably would’ve cost them 5 years and $75 million. Now I bet they could sign McCann in the 4 year $40 million dollar range which isn’t a bad deal and if he did decline during the deal they could always send him to the AL where he could DH and play catcher.

    Either way I hope they can re-sign both McCann and Ross. There’s no drop off at catcher on a nightly basis even if McCann only plays 120 games and Ross plays the rest. McCann I think would take a hometown discount to stay with the Braves too.

  5. Jwick22 3 years ago

    I disagree with ross not being able to handle it. one of the best back ups. And it would only be short term. I think teams needing a catcher for a year or two would give ross a chance to play everyday. Sure hope he stays put

  6. ssjchaseutley 3 years ago

    Phillies have some catching depth…do the Braves have anything we want/need? Division rival, yes…but, eh, you never know.

    • kray1000 3 years ago

      Not much, except maybe bullpen prospects. If McCann returns by mid-April, there won’t be as much reason to trade for a catcher… Ross could handle playing almost every day for a week or so.

    • tomymogo 3 years ago

      Kratz? He did a good job filling in for Ruiz

    • CowboyJames 3 years ago

      Avilan for Ruiz?

      • Matt Talbert 3 years ago

        I’d have no problem with that at all. What’s his salary requirements. We have plenty of relief arms (on the farm and ready) and there is always FA you can get on the cheap you know.

    • rundmc1981 3 years ago

      Good luck getting anything less than an overpay from the rival Phillies.

  7. If I’m Frank Wren, I would attribute a lot of the problems at the plate to playing through an injury he should have sat with…and pick up the option. If McCann still sputters next season after the surgery, then let him walk.

  8. KeVin M 3 years ago

    You think Molina is more important to the Cardinals than McCann is to the Braves? Wow what baseball world are you living in.

    Molina has 36 of 77 career homeruns in his last 2 seasons and before then he never put up more than 6 HR’s in a season. Molina has also averaged 129 games a season in his 8 full seasons in the majors.

    McCann has hit an average of 21 HR’s a year in his 7 full seasons in the majors along with an OPS almost .100 better than Molina in their careers… .826 for McCann and .730 for Molina.

    McCann has also averaged 135 games a season in his 7 full seasons. Plus McCann has hit 4th or 5th in the majors for the majority of his career while Molina has hit 6th or 7th.

    McCann is one of the biggest backbones of the team and when he’s on his game which he is when he’s healthy he’s one of the best in the league. The Cardinals have a lineup from top to bottom that they can get by without Molina. The Braves can’t live in a world without McCann now that Chipper is gone.

    I’m sure you were one of the people who thought that Heyward was a fluke too last year when he battled a shoulder injury most of the season? A healthy McCann is worth another 4-5 years for sure.

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