NEW YORK -- Encouraged by the way he has felt while taking swings and playing long toss this weekend, catcher Brian McCann is itching to return to the Braves' lineup soon after he is eligible to be activated from the disabled list Thursday.
But the club is going to be cautious with its six-time All-Star catcher, who has been sidelined since July 25 with a strained left oblique muscle.
"I'd hate to push him and then we have a setback and then we're right back to square one," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We don't need that."
McCann took batting practice in the indoor batting cage at Citi Field on Saturday and threw without discomfort in the outfield before Sunday's game. The Braves will have a better idea about when he might return after he takes batting practice outdoors during this week's series against the Marlins in Miami.
Once they feel McCann is no longer bothered by the oblique muscle, the Braves will send him on a rehab assignment that could consist of three games. They do not want him to rush back like Chipper Jones and Jason Heyward did after the short Minor League rehab assignments they experienced this year.