LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Some fans of Brian McCann’s old-school look behind the plate have been in a dither since the Braves catcher’s recent switch to the hockey goalie-style mask that so many catchers wear today. Gone is the metal mask and backward batting helmet he wore before.
McCann said the change was made strictly for function and not aesthetics
“I tried [the hockey-style mask] the other day and liked the vision out of it,” said the six-time All-Star. “The bars are closer to your face and you can see better.”
He said it’s lighter and “you get more breeze to your face. So it’s better all the way around. In the front it’s all open.”
McCann tried the goalie mask a few years ago when he had vision problems and briefly wore glasses while playing.
“But I didn’t really give it a chance,” he said.
This time, he’s got no plans to revert back to the traditional mask.
Next up: Verlander and Tigers
Tommy Hanson makes his last spring start Saturday when the Braves faces Detroit and AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander in a 1:05 p.m. game at Champion Stadium. It’ll be shown on SportSouth.
Planned relievers for the Braves include closer Craig Kimbrel and right-hander Cory Gearrin.
Martin Prado led the Grapefruit League with 23 hits before Friday, when he broke a scoreless tie with an RBI double in the fourth inning of the split-squad road game at Kissimmee…. Braves Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman were tied with Detroit’s Brennan Boesch and St. Louis’ Ryan Raburn for the Grapefruit League home run lead with six before Friday…. Third baseman Chipper Jones (arthroscopic knee surgery) and pitcher Arodys Vizcaino (reconstructive elbow surgery) were placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. Jones is eligible to return April 10 and hopes to be back for the April 13 home opener vs. Milwaukee. Vizcaino will miss the entire season.