Braves encouraged with McCann's bat, arm

Braves encouraged with McCann's bat, arm

DETROIT -- The Braves were not surprised to see Brian McCann homer in the first two at-bats he recorded in his first Minor League rehab game with Class A Rome on Friday night. Swinging the bat has not been a problem for the veteran catcher who is nearing a return from offseason shoulder surgery. In fact, manager Fredi Gonzalez said McCann might have been on the Opening Day roster if the Braves were in the American League and had the luxury of utilizing a designated hitter.

"After about three weeks of Spring Training, he was swinging the bat like he always has," Gonzalez said.

More encouraging than the home runs was the arm strength McCann showed while making four throws to second base during Friday's game in Greensboro. While he was charged with two throwing errors, Gonzalez said the report he received indicated the throws were strong and might not have resulted in errors with a little more assistance from the middle infielders.

McCann was scheduled to serve as a designated hitter on Saturday in the second of the five games he will likely play for Rome. He will continue his rehab stint with Gwinnett during the latter portion of next week and possibly be activated from the disabled list at some point the following week.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.