Brian McCann returned to the Braves starting lineup Monday for the first time in a week, after spending six days battling a flu-like virus. It was a good sign for a team that’s been playing without three middle-of-the-order hitters and has lost a season-high eight in a row.
McCann planned to catch all nine innings and did without any problems.
“I felt fine,” he said after going 0-for-4, on a day when the temperature was 82 degrees at first pitch. “I couldn’t have picked a better day to come back.”
McCann plans to be back in the lineup Tuesday and hopes to get “back on a regular schedule where I catch five or six in a row and then take a day off.”
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told McCann since they are carrying a third catcher, J.C. Boscan, he could come out at any point if he didn’t feel well.
“I thought with the temperature and the humidity he was going to struggle,” Gonzalez said. “But that’s a good sign. I kept checking with him every inning or so, and he said he was fine.”
McCann had played Friday night against the Nationals after backup catcher David Ross left the game in the second inning with a strained groin muscle. Expending that effort cost McCann another couple of games.
“It was one of the toughest things I’ve done,” McCann said. “I almost came out of the game and I knew we didn’t have another guy to catch. I wouldn’t have been able to catch another inning that night.”
It was a long recovery for McCann, who has suffered from fever, chills and body aches. He attempted to return to the starting lineup Sunday, but after getting his heart rate up and sweating during pre-game running, he felt bad again. But McCann said he started feeling better during Sunday night’s game.
“I’ve never been sick for longer than a day or two and this seemed to drag on for a week,” McCann said. “It’s definitely been frustrating, but there’s nothing you can do about it except get healthy and get back in there.”