Philadelphia – Brian McCann has been doing a lot of searching this first half, but as the Braves close out the first half of the season, he thinks he’s finally found something.
The struggling Braves catcher had a late-night conversation and subsequent hitting session with his brother Brad McCann earlier this week after struggling against the Cubs. They met up at the Alpharetta batting cages where his brother and father work as hitting instructors.
“My brother called me and basically was listing off these things that he saw that he didn’t really like what I was doing,” said McCann, who said he’s been late to the ball. “I got to the point where I had nowhere else to go. I’ve tried a million things this year and none of them seemed to work, so I had to change some things.”
McCann said he and his brother broke his mechanics down to the basics, starting over at square one, “from stepping in the box, to my stance, to my load, to my hands, to when to hit.”
They also looked at video of McCann’s 2008 season, the time before McCann thinks he started getting into bad habits because of his vision problems. That was the last year McCann hit .300, hitting .301 with 23 home runs and 87 RBIs
“It was the last year I felt like every time I went up to the box, I felt dangerous,” said McCann, who spent the next couple of seasons undergoing Lasic surgery and trying to cope with blurred vision and dry eyes. “I had to calm everything down and I couldn’t swing as hard as I wanted to. (Now) I’m able to do things and get back to where I need to be to be at my best.”
As admittedly nerve-wracking as it was for a six-time All-Star to strip down his mechanics and start over, McCann said he gained confidence from teammate Chipper Jones.
“I asked him if there’s ever been a time in his career where he basically had to start over,” McCann said. “And he said ‘Many times.’ So I knew that was time for me to step out of my comfort zone and find out what my problem was.”
The results he’s seen now have McCann confident about the second half.
“I took a couple steps back, but I think it’s only going to make me better than I’ve ever been,” McCann said.