ATLANTA -- When Brian McCann barely missed two homers and lined out to Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira on Monday night, he seemed more optimistic than he had in nearly 10 months. Somewhere in the midst of the hitless performance he started feeling comfortable with the mechanics of his swing again.
While recording two homers, and multi-hit performances in each of the three games that followed, McCann had even more reason to believe he had finally erased the bad habits that developed after he returned to the Braves lineup just three weeks after straining his left oblique muscle in late July.
"I got myself in some bad mechanical problems and I did not know," McCann said. "I got them corrected and I've been feeling good since."
During the offseason, McCann was not willing to say the oblique injury played a part in the fact that he hit just .180 with a .346 slugging percentage in the 37 games he played in 2011 after returning from the disabled list. But after hitting .247 with a .418 slugging percentage through this season's first two months, the six-time All-Star started to understand the injury had a residual effect.
Instead of displaying the swing that had enabled him to hit .290 with a .491 slugging percentage in the 823 career games he had totaled before the injury, he was protecting his left side and not getting the extension that he needed to generate power.
With five extra-base hits in his previous 14 at-bats entering Saturday, McCann was once again generating the power he is expected to provide in the middle of the Braves lineup. He totaled 12 extra-base hits in the 171 at-bats that preceded this stretch.
"When you're taking batting practice and you're not hitting home runs, that is kind of the tell-tale sign," McCann said. "I just wasn't backing balls up. Every hit I got was a single."