Vivlamore reporting from Turner Field with your Braves report.
Brian McCann was out of the Braves starting lineup Sunday night as he continues to battle flu-like symptoms. The catcher was nearly back for the nationally televised game against the Nationals, according to manager Fredi Gonzalez, but wasn’t quite ready after going through pre-game running drills.
There is a possibility McCann could return for Monday’s afternoon series-opener against the Cardinals, but may sit one more day as a precaution and return Tuesday.
Gonzalez said he would leave it to McCann whether he will be able to play to was going to take into account what is forecast to be a day with 90-plus degree temperature.
“(I’ll do what) I’ve been doing this whole time I’ve been down – wake up and hope for the best,” McCann said after Sunday’s game. “I’m going to show up here tomorrow and hopefully get in there.”
McCann was available to pinch hit or serve as a late defensive replacement Sunday night. He missed three straight games with the illness before being forced into action Friday with backup David Ross injured his groin. McCann also served as a pinch-hitter Saturday.
“It may be better off until Tuesday,” Gonzalez said. “I told him ‘If you come in tomorrow and you feel good, let’s give it a shot. If we get five or six innings that’s three at-bats we get out of you.’”
Ross, who suffered a left groin strain checking his swing in the second inning Friday, said he felt much better Sunday and was hoping to only miss four or five days, tentatively eyeing a return Wednesday against the Cardinals.
“I’m still sore,” Ross said. “I was doing some of the tests [with trainers]. They were testing my strength. I’m a little weak on some of them. For the most part, I feel a lot better than yesterday. That was a good sign.”
Ross hit off a tee Saturday and Sunday and was encouraged. McCann was the backup Sunday night with Ross serving as the “emergency, emergency” catcher. He said he was available to pinch-hit but was frustrated by the injury.
“I was sitting on the bench [Saturday] feeling terrible,” Ross said. “One thing I pride myself on is letting [McCann] have his days and that’s what they brought me here for, if something were to happen and he goes down is to hold down the fort until he can get back. It was just real, real frustrating because I had a real opportunity to play a little bit and give Mac a chance to rest.”
The Braves brought J.C. Boscan up from Triple-A Gwinnett. He started behind the plate Saturday, with a hit and an RBI, and Sunday.
Staff writer Carroll Rogers contributed information to this report.