McCann expects to be 'completely healthy' in 2013


McCann expects to be 'completely healthy' in 2013

ATLANTA (AP) Brian McCann's agent said Wednesday the Braves catcher expects to be ``completely healthy'' for the 2013 season following surgery on his right shoulder.

McCann's rehabilitation could last six months, so his status for the opening month of next season is uncertain. The Braves, meanwhile, must decide this month on their $12 million option on McCann for 2013.

Tuesday's surgery by Dr. Xavier Duralde repaired McCann's torn labrum. The Braves say the tear was larger than expected.

McCann's agent, B.B. Abbott, told The Associated Press the six-time All-Star is expecting a full recovery.

``Brian is extremely encouraged with the information he received from Dr. Duralde,'' Abbott said. ``His prognosis is for a full and complete recovery and he is excited to be completely healthy for the 2013 season.''

McCann, 28, is expected to return to light baseball activities in about four months. The full clearance could come two months later in April, the season's opening month.

Braves general manager Frank Wren was attending organizational meetings in Orlando on Wednesday and could not be reached for comment on McCann.

The team must decide within three days of the end of the World Series on contract options for McCann and starting pitcher Tim Hudson, for $9 million.

Abbott said he has been given ``no indication about the Braves' intentions'' on McCann.

The shoulder problem did not affect McCann's throwing but it hampered his hitting. He set a career low with his .230 batting average. He hit 20 homers with 67 RBIs in 121 games. He also was slowed by tendinitis in his right knee.

McCann was notably left out of the starting lineup for the Braves' wild-card loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said McCann would have started if the team advanced to the division series.

McCann, a career .279 hitter, began a string of six straight All-Star appearances in 2006, his first full season. He has hit 20 or more homers six times and has three seasons with more than 90 RBIs.

Wren knows he must replace third baseman Chipper Jones, who is retiring. Centerfielder and leadoff hitter Michael Bourn could be difficult to re-sign as a free agent.

When discussing his offseason outlook the day after the wild-card loss, Wren indicated his plans next season included McCann.

``To be honest with you, I feel like this is a more focused offseason,'' Wren said. ``I'm looking forward to it because I think there's a narrower focus of what we need. We've got a lot of good young players in place and we've got to determine what we do in center field ... and we've got to determine how we replace Chipper. Beyond that, our club is pretty solid.''

There is a $500,000 buyout if the Braves don't pick up the option on McCann's contract.

Backup catcher David Ross, who will be a free agent, has been a productive fill-in for McCann. Ross will be 36 next season. ``He's been real valuable in that backup role and we'll continue to look to have him back,'' Wren said.

J.C. Boscan, who has appeared in only 11 games in three seasons, will be 33.

The team's top catching prospect is Christian Bethancourt, whose 2012 season at Double-A Mississippi ended when he broke his left hand in August.

Bethancourt, 21, hit only .243 at Mississippi. He has never hit more than five homers in a minor-league season, so he doesn't project as a replacement for McCann's power in the middle of Atlanta's lineup.

Wren may have to look for help at catcher even if McCann returns and Ross is re-signed. A veteran may be signed for depth in case McCann is not ready for the start of the season.

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This Caps Stanley Cup tattoo has everyone's beat


This Caps Stanley Cup tattoo has everyone's beat

Since the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup for the first time over one month ago, Caps fans, (and players), have rushed to their local tattoo parlor to get some ink commemorating the win.

We've seen the classic Capitals logo with the Stanley Cup, but nothing that comes close to the masterpiece that is Shane Peacher's tattoo.

Peacher tweeted to Joe B and Courtney Laughlin the finished tat: a work of art featuring Alex Ovechkin kissing the Stanley Cup for the first time as it's hoisted over his head.

Joe B replied making sure Shane had enough room on his other tricep for next year.

Shane replied that he's thinking of Evgeny Kuznetsov's iconic celebration that has since been dubbed the "birdman."

Shane got his Caps tattoo at the Helix Tattoo Lodge in Rising Sun, Maryland, by tattoo artist, Justin Holcombe.


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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

USA Today Sports Images

Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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