Last week in his rehab stint with the Gwinnett Braves, I sat down with Brian McCann to talk about his progress, what’s it like playing in his hometown and his feelings about returning to the Major Leagues.
JD- What’s it Like Playing in Gwinnett?
“It’s amazing. I went to High School at Duluth and I saw some familiar faces in the stands that I went to high school with. This is where I grew up and I’m excited to be here.”
Jd- Do you see people that you haven’t seen since high school up in the stands during games?
“That’s the beauty of being able to play in Atlanta. I’ve been very lucky. I grew up in Gwinnett County and to go and play for the Atlanta Braves, I get to have friends and family come to a game almost every night.”
JD- How are you feeling right now, physically?
“I feel great. Coming back from shoulder surgery I couldn’t be in a better spot right now. So I’m excited to join the big league team again and start playing.”
Jd- Describe the Rehab process?
“It’s the first surgery I ever had, so it took patience and a lot of hard work. I did both of those and the work has paid off. I feel extremely good.”
Jd- Have you had to time to sit down, and think maybe you were pushing this? Or rushing your return to the diamond?
“Not at all, I wasn’t going to come back unless I felt like I can help the team win and be myself out there. I’m throwing the ball great and just as good as before the surgery. This is the best I felt in a long time.”
Jd- Last season you played through the injury, Any regrets?
“No, the position the team was in didn’t allow me to. We had a chance to win a World Series and I wanted to be a part of that. If we didn’t have a chance to make the playoffs I would have definitely had the surgery earlier, but where we were at in the standings and how good our team was, I just wanted to be a part of that. “
Jd- Did you know of the severity of your injury prior to?
“I knew I was probably going to need to get surgery. It was a just a matter of of the significance of the injury and it turned out to be a pretty decent size tear.”
JD- What will it be like when you join your team?
“I won’t know until I get there (about first game). I know I’m excited to get back and playing with my teammates. I haven’t thought about what kind of emotions I will have when I step back onto the field. But, like I said I’m really excited to get back with the team.”
The G-Braves are on ten game losing streak, tonight they hope to snap it as they send Sean Gilmartin (2-1, 2.70 ERA) to the bump against Terry Doyle of the Pawtucket Red Sox. Game time is 6:05 PM at Coolray Field.
Tuesday is “Boston Strong Night” at Coolray Field, as every ticket sold via the online link gwinnettbraves.com/boston using the promo code STRONG, $5 will be donated to OneFundBoston.org, benefitting the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy. Atlanta Falcons and former Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan, former Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, former New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison and former Boston Celtics guard Dee Brown will all be guests of the G-Braves as they throw out ceremonial first pitches.
In honor of Boston STRONG night at Coolray Field we will center today’s blog on fun facts about the Boston Braves. The team became known as the Boston Braves in 1912 after going through various names in a five year span. The name would stick until the Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953.
From Last to First- In 1914, the Braves had one of the most memorable seasons to date. After starting the season 4-18 and entering July 4th with the worst record in the league (26-40), the Braves reeled off 43 wins in 56 tries to finish first in the league. They are the only team to win a pennant after being in last place on the Fourth of July. They won the World Series despite being heavy underdogs against the Philadelphia A’s, sweeping them and being the first team in modern history to sweep a World Series.
Fenway Park- The monumental park has been the Boston Red Sox’s home park since it broke ground in 1912… However, to accommodate for the excess crowds during their historic run in 1914, the Boston Braves used the park to field their last games and the World Series.
The Babe Returns to Boston– After being dealt away by the Boston Red Sox, Babe Ruth was purchased by Emil Fuchs in 1935, becoming player, Assistant Manager and Vice President of the Boston Braves. With his skills diminishing, Ruth wanted a way to transition to a career in baseball once his playing career was over. Fuchs wanted to sell more tickets, so the move was great on paper for both, and Ruth was acquired from the New York Yankees. The move did not pan out, as Ruth retired on June 1–only six days after he hit the last three home runs of his career. It remains one of the most memorable afternoons in baseball history. The Braves finished the season 38-115 in 1935.
Dynamic Duo- Dealing with poor seasons for decades, the Braves were revived in the late 40’s behind the brilliant duo of Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain. In 1948, the hurlers won a combined 39 games and lead the Braves to a World Series appearance. They lost in six games to the Indians.
Milwaukee- The World Series appearance would be the last hurrah in Boston, as their fate change again. Amid four more mediocre seasons, on March 13, 1953, owner Lou Perini, announced he was moving the team to Milwaukee, where the Braves had their top farm club, the Brewers.
Notable Boston Braves
The G-Braves take the field tonight, as Daniel Rodriguez (1-2, 7.48) will take the ball against Alfredo Aceves (1-0, 0.00) at 6:05 PM. Braves will try and stop their nine game skid.
Mon: Omar Poveda (2-1, 1.93) vs. Rubby De La Rosa (0-0, 7.11 ERA)
Tue: Daniel Rodriguez (1-2, 7.48 ERA) vs. Alfredo Aceves (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Wed: Sean Gilmartin (2-1, 2.70 ERA) vs. Allen Webster (1-0, 2.70 ERA)
Thu: Yohan Flande (1-2, 4.97 ERA) vs. Terry Doyle (2-2, 3.03 ERA)
Gwinnett- The G-Braves are currently on an eight-game losing streak. Their slide has dropped them to third in the division and a whopping 8.5 games back in the South standings. After getting back to 12-11, the Braves have been swept by the Indianapolis Indians (21-10) and Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (17-11)in the last week.
Hitting- Joey Terdoslavich continues to hit. The outfielder is ninth in the IL in batting average (.333), T-1st in hits (41), 1st in doubles (13), 1st in extra-base hits (19) and 1st in total bases (71). He has amassed multi-hit games in 12 of his last 20… Jose Constanza has been missing in action. Since extending his hit streak to 11 games on 4/28, the outfielder has not appeared in a contest…
Pitching- Poveda will take the ball in game one. In five starts, the right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA. He is 5th in the IL in ERA, 3rd in WHIP (0.80) and 1st in batting average against (.136)… Rodriguez suffered a setback last time out, as he was roughed up for seven runs (6 ER) in 3 IP. Prior to the start, he tossed 14.1 scoreless frames. He gets the nod in Game 2… Gilmartin suffered his first loss of the season last time out, but he carried a no-hitter through the first six innings. He will pitch on Wednesday… Flande will toss the finale. The left-hander has moved from bullpen-to-starter well, posting a 1-2 record with a 4.19 ERA in four starts.
G-Bites- Infielder Tyler Pastornicky is set to return to the G-Braves lineup tonight, as he was optioned by the Braves last night.
Hitting- The Pawtuket attack is led by Jackie Bradley Jr. After struggling in the MLB, Bradley Jr. has found his stroke in Triple-A. In 11 games, he is hitting .302 (13-for-43) with two doubles and four RBI… Bryce Brentz is the muscle in the middle of the lineup, leading the squad in homers (5) and RBI (20)… Jeremy Hazelbaker also has five dingers this season…
Pitching-De la Rosa takes the ball in the opener, the former LAD farmhand has struggled in 2013. He is 0-0 with a 7.11 ERA. He has limited hitters to a .229 batting average, but has walked eight in 12.2 IP… Seasoned Vet, Aceves gets the ball in Game 2. After being sent down by the big club, Aceves was sharp with Pawtucket, tossing six scoreless in a win last week… Baseball America’s No.4 ranked Boston prospect, Allen Webster will start on Wednesday. He has an impressive strikeout rate, as he has set down 26 hitters in 20 IP… Doyle gets the call on Thursday. The right-hander currently leads the team in innings (32.2), walks (18) and strikeouts (28)…
On a night when Brian McCann homered in second rehab start for the Gwinnett Braves, the RailRiders stole the show, scoring two in the first, one in the fifth and three in the six to roll to a 6-2 victory on Friday night.
Things never got going for Gwinnett, as starter Yohan Flande was tagged for five runs, four earned in five innings. He entered the sixth inning down two, but surrendered back-to-back hits to Ronnier Mustilier and Addison Maruszuk before being removed from the game. Roman Colon promptly gave up a leadoff double and the rest was history.
The Braves dropped their sixth straight game, seventh in their last ten and have fallen 7.5 games behind the first place Norfolk Tides (19-9).
Joey Terdoslavich had another big night, going 3-for-4 with a solo blast in the seventh. The outfielder has connected for multi-hit games in 12 of his last 18 games. McCann added another hit in the bottom of the sixth, reaching on an infield single. He finished 2-for-4 on the night.
He will be featured in the lineup today, as he plans to be behind the plate to catch starter Tim Corcoran (1-2, 3.12 ERA). The Braves will hope to stop their current six-game losing streak against RHP Dellin Betances (1-2, 7.58 ERA) at 7:05 pm.
G-Bites- Last night in the top of the ninth inning, Corey Rasmus appeared in his 13th game of the season. He tossed a scoreless frame and now leads the league in games pitched. He boasts a 0.64 ERA and leads the G-Braves in saves (4).
The Gwinnett Braves returned to Coolray Field, but couldn’t get back on track, dropping their fifth straight game.
The Braves outhit the Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 7-to-5, but could not come up with the timely hits, going 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Brian McCann, in his first rehab start with the Gwinnett Braves, punched the only run in with an RBI single in the eighth inning. After a two-out double by Todd Cunningham, McCann delivered with his first hit of the night.
In six rehab games, through Single-A Rome and Triple-A Gwinnett, he is hitting .333 with three homers and eight RBI. The six-time All-Star is not worried about his hitting, but looking to regain full strength in surgically repaired shoulder.
“The last thing I’m worried about is my hitting,” said McCann to Barrett Sallee in his post-game interview for MLB.com. “I feel great swinging the bat. I’m ready to go.”
His bat is not the only thing MLB ready, as he called a great game for the first six innings of the night. Entering the seventh inning, starter Sean Gilmartin was tossing a no-hitter. However, the left-hander surrendered a leadoff single to Melky Mesa and everything went south from there. He would be tagged for three runs in 6.2 innings of ball, suffering the loss.
Joey Terdoslavich had another big night, going 3-for4 and raising his average to the .333 mark. He leads the team in hitting, hits (37), doubles (13) and total bases (64).
The Braves will turn the page from last night’s loss, sending Yohan Flande (1-1, 4.43 ERA) to the mound tonight. The southpaw has been solid as a starter, posting a 1-1 record with a 3.14 ERA in 2013. He will face Graham Stoneburner (1-1, 3.00 ERA). The right-hander is 14th round draft pick out of Clemson University. He features a fastball, change up and a slider. In 2011, Baseball America ranked him the No. 17 prospect in the Yankees organization.
Tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Thu: Sean Gilmartin (2-0, 2.40 ERA) vs. Brett Marshall (0-2, 7.36 ERA)
Fri: Yohan Flande (1-1, 4.43 ERA) vs. Graham Stoneburner (1-1, 3.00 ERA)
Sat: Tim Corcoran (1-2, 3.12 ERA) vs Dellin Betances (1-2, 7.58 ERA)
Sun: Omar Poveda (2-1, 1.93 ERA) vs. Chien-Ming Wang (2-1, 0.95 ERA) or Chris Bootcheck (3-0, 0.38 ERA)
The Gwinnett Braves have lost their last four games, as they were swept by the Indianapolis Indians (20-7). The Braves ran into a buzz saw, losing to the hottest team in the International League. The Indians are currently on a six-game winning streak and own the best record in the league.
The Braves are glad to be home after an eight-game road trip. Welcoming them back to Coolray Field will be catcher Brian McCann, as he will continue his rehab with the Gwinnett Braves this weekend. The six-time MLB All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger Award winner has been licking his chops to get back to Atlanta, working hard to get through his rehab assignment. In four games with the Single-A Rome Braves, he is hitting .357 (5-for-14) with three homers and 7 RBI.
The offensive attack is led by Ernesto Mejia. His eight home runs lead the league, while he is second RBI (23) and total bases (53). Last season, he hit .258 (8-for-31) with eight runs, one homer and five RBI against Scranton… Joey Terdoslavich has been no slouch, hitting .318 (34-for-107) with four home runs and 16 RBI. He leads the league in doubles (13), extra-base hits (18) and total bases (61)…
Sean Gilmartin will take the ball in the opener. He is 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA in five starts. Among starters, he is second on the squad in innings (30) and ERA. He will make his first career start against the RailRiders… Yohan Flande will make his fourth start (7th appearance) of the season Friday. He is 1-1 with a 4.43 ERA. In his career he has faced Scranton/ WB four times, posting a 0-0 record with a 3.54 ERA (20.1 IP/ 8 ER) and 15 strikeouts… Tim Corcoran pitches Saturday. In five starts, he is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA. Dating back to 2005, Corcoran has tossed 1.2 innings against the RailRiders, giving up zero runs and striking out two… Poveda will toss in the finale. The right-hander is seventh in the league in ERA (1.93). He is 2-1 on the season and has tossed 32.2 innings in five starts. He will make his first start against Scranton…
Braves concluded the month of April with a 12-15 record. They are currently 6.5 games back of the South Division front-runner Durham Bulls and 5.5 games behind of the wildcard leading Norfolk Tides. The G-Braves are 4-6 in their last 10 games and 6-4 at home…
Thomas Neal leads the RailRiders charge, hitting .339 (21-for062) with six doubles and 14 RBI. He is eighth in the league in hitting… He is tied for eighth place with teammate David Adams. He is hitting .339 (20-for 59) with two homers and six RBI… Melky Mesa leads the squad in homers with three, but is second the IL in strikeouts with 35…
Baseball America’s No. 6 ranked Yankees prospect Marshall will get the ball in Game 1. The right-hander has struggled in 2013, posting a 0-2 record with a 7.36 ERA… Saturday’s hurler, Stoneburner has been solid despite logging in 12.0 innings in three starts. He is 1-1 with 3.00 ERA. This will be his first start against the G-Braves… Another Yankee farmhand that has struggled is Game 3 starter, Dellin Betances. The righty is 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA. Even though he has made 25 starts in his career for Scranton, this will be his first against Gwinnett. Sunday starter has not been decided, but both Wang and Bootcheck will prove to be tough. Each pitcher is sporting a sub 1.00 ERA. In 43 combined innings, the right-handers have allowed three earned runs in 2013.
The Low Down
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre took seven of eight games against the Braves in 2012. In 2013, the RailRiders are in third place in the East Division. They are currently three games back of the Wild Card race and Division lead. They are currently on a four-game winning streak.