ATLANTA -- Brian McCann was pleased to feel minimal discomfort in his right side on Saturday morning. The catcher was further encouraged when he arrived at Turner Field a few hours later and learned he could return to the Braves' lineup as early as Monday.
There was some concern surrounding McCann on Friday night, when he was forced to exit the Braves' 6-1 win over the Pirates with a strained right intercostal muscle. But Atlanta said this ailment was different that the strained left oblique muscle McCann suffered during a 19-inning game against Pittsburgh in July.
"I woke up and knew it was only going to be a couple day thing," McCann said. "I don't think I can re-injure it doing anything. It's just a matter of dealing with a little twinge."
McCann first felt pain in the fourth inning, when he blocked a pitch and threw to second base. He was able to make a strong throw to second base after receiving a pitchout in the fifth inning. But with the discomfort present as he grounded out in the bottom half of the inning, he exited the game as a preventative measure to avoid aggravating the ailment.
"As soon as I made that throw, I knew I was going to be OK as far as the long haul," McCann said. "But I just wanted to make sure it wasn't going to be a DL stint and make sure it was not going to be an oblique, where it was going to sit me out three weeks to a month.
"I don't like sitting out, and I don't like not being in there. But I learned my lesson last year. If you go on the DL for a 3 1/2 weeks to a month, it's going to take you two months to get back. I'm just being cautious.Hopefully in a couple days I'll be ready to go."
With McCann sidelined, David Ross will handle the catching duties, and Matt Diaz will serve as his emergency backup. Diaz has not caught in a game since donning the gear for the Royals in their 2005 Instructional League. But he did catch at least two bullpen sessions a month while with the Pirates last year.