ATLANTA -- When the Braves opted to promote catcher J.C. Boscan from Triple-A Gwinnett, they were not expecting to immediately put him into their starting lineup to face the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg. But after Brian McCann proved too sick to be in the starting lineup on Saturday afternoon, they were left with no other choice.
McCann was strong enough to pop out during a pinch-hit appearance that ended Saturday's 8-4 loss to the Nationals. But it was apparent that he did not have the energy to do much more.
"I thought he was going to die when he got to first base last night," Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche said, giving a sense of how bad McCann felt after he was forced to play the final seven innings of Friday night's loss.
Wanting to allow McCann to regain the energy he had lost while missing the previous three days with a fever caused by what appears to be a virus, the Braves did not want to play McCann on Friday night. But they were forced to do so when backup catcher David Ross was forced to exit in the second inning with what appears to be a minor right groin strain.
"He felt [bad] ... and he looked terrible after the game," Ross said of McCann. "I mean, really bad. He grinded it out and grinded through it. So I felt [bad] for me and for him yesterday. Hopefully, we can get this little injury bug thing out of here and move on."
Boscan was promoted to fill the roster spot opened when the Braves were forced to place Chipper Jones on the disabled list with a severely bruised left calf. The 32-year-old catcher, who has spent virtually his entire career in the Minors, will remain at the big league level until the Braves are confident they can rely on McCann and Ross.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez's worst fear began to materialize as McCann's energy level steadily decreased during the final stages of Friday's game.
"He really struggled to catch the last couple of innings, so much so that I told [umpire Doug Eddings], 'Keep an eye on him. If you feel like he's going to faint on you or something, let me know.'"
Still Gonzalez hopes McCann will regain enough energy to return to the lineup for Sunday night's game against the Nationals. Encouraged by the way he felt on Saturday, Ross said he believes he could be ready to play again within the next few days.
Ross made an immediate exit after he felt a pop when he checked his swing while looking at ball four against Ross Detwiler in Friday's second inning. He likened the discomfort to the minor strains he experienced during Spring Training in 2009 and '10.
"It was like a big pop that I felt when I stopped my bat," Ross said. "It just grabbed right away It was the same injury I had in Spring Training my first year here [in 2009]. [Trainer Jeff Porter] thinks it might be a little scar tissue that has just let go. The muscle was spasm-ing pretty good yesterday. It's sore, but it doesn't kill me."