Braves catcher Brian McCann will face major challenges this season, and he will be facing them with a surgically repaired right shoulder that most likely won’t be 100% until the 2013 season is well underway.
McCann didn’t have a “Brian McCann” type season at the plate in 2012, when he hit only .230, with 20 homers, 67 runs-batted-in, a .300 on-base-percentage, and .399 slugging percentage. He enters 2013 in the last year of his contract, and he needs a solid year to prove that he’s healthy, and still capable of putting up big numbers.
Teams don’t pay the big money for what players did yesterday, it is the promise of tomorrow that brings the big bucks.
With Chipper Jones having retired, and Martin Prado having been packaged in the Justin Upton deal, McCann is also expected to be the leader this season. But it is tough to lead, when you are sitting on the bench, so that adds even more pressure to be in the line-up.
Will McCann be able to stay patient, and wait until his shoulder is healed and ready to go, or will he become impatient, and attempt to play too early? McCann has proven to be a “gamer” in the past, the kind of player that will put the team above himself, and play hurt. He needs to stay patient this time, and listen to what his body tells him, not his mind.
The mind can play tricks and fool players, particularly ones who are in the last year of their contract.
Brian McCann could be the key in 2013, both on the field and in the clubhouse. He will turn 29 in a few days, and in a perfect world the hometown boy will rack up big numbers this season, and sign a nice extension that will keep him a Brave until he decides to hang up his cleats.
But in perfect worlds, there are no surgically repaired shoulders.