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 MLB.com'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.


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