Braves will start backup catcher David Ross instead
Six-time All-Star catcher Brian McCann will not start when the Atlanta Braves face the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League wild card game on Friday, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters.
The 28-year-old McCann, who is batting .226 over his last 10 games, has a .230 average, a .698 OPS, 20 home runs and 67 RBI in 439 at-bats this season, his worst as a Major Leaguer.
Gonzalez will start backup catcher David Ross instead. McCann has been hampered by discomfort caused by a cyst on his right shoulder. The 35-year-old Ross, who is well-respected for his game-calling skills and his ability to control an opposing team’s running game, is batting .256 with nine home runs, 23 RBI and a .770 OPS in 176 at-bats.
The Braves will send soon-to-be 27-year-old right-hander Kris Medlen to the mound on Friday. Medlen is one of the feel good stories of 2012, posting a 10-1 record and a 1.57 ERA in 50 games and 12 starts. The Braves have recorded wins in 23 straight games started by Medlen.
“It’s one of those things where you feel [Ross] gives you a good chance to win a ballgame,” Gonzalez said. “Defensively, we know how well he can throw people out. The Cardinals have a tendency to put people in motion a lot. With the combination of Rossy and [starting pitcher Kris] Medlen, maybe we have an opportunity to shut that down a little bit.”
Since August 1, McCann has a .201 average with two home runs, a .280 on-base percentage and a .261 slugging percentage in 39 games. According to MLB.com, he was displeased upon learning that he would not start on Friday, but he showed support for Ross.
“I have not played the way I wanted to play,” McCann said. “Ross has been playing great. That is just a decision that they made.”