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C McCann to return to Braves on Monday

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Associated Press
5/5/2013 1:05:13 PM
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ATLANTA -- Atlanta's six-time All-Star catcher Brian McCann is ready to come off the disabled list on Monday when the Braves open a series in Cincinnati.

McCann had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder last October. Braves manager Fred Gonzalez said McCann was expected to complete his rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday and accompany the team to Cincinnati.

"If he feels good he'll come back down here and fly out with us to Cincinnati," Gonzalez said Sunday. "I don't see any reason why we can't set that in stone, but we have to wait for him to get two or three at-bats."

McCann hit .364 with four homers in his first six games with Class A Rome and Gwinnett, but the bigger question has been how his shoulder holds up to his throws to second base. McCann said his arm is ready.

"The way I'm throwing now is basically the way I was throwing before I got hurt," McCann said this week. "The ball is coming out great.

"I tested my arm as much as I could possibly test it and woke up the next day and felt the same as the day before."

The Braves have not announced how they will clear a roster spot for McCann.

Rookie catcher Evan Gattis, in Sunday's lineup against the Mets, has hit .250 with seven homers and 17 RBIs. Gattis, the NL rookie of the month for April, is expected to play behind McCann and may have spot starts at first base and in the outfield.

Gonzalez said third baseman Juan Francisco is day to day with a mild right ankle sprain he suffered Friday. Francisco has shared time with Chris Johnson at third base.

Right fielder Jason Heyward, who had his appendix removed on April 22, is ready to take batting practice. Heyward will be with the team as it begins its 10-game road trip in Cincinnati and San Francisco.

Gonzalez said "there's still no timetable on where or when" Heyward begins his minor league rehabilitation assignment.

"He's taking it day by day right now," Gonzalez said. "He's feeling better every day."

Soon after his surgery, Heyward said he hoped to return by the end of May. It is possible Heyward could recover faster than he expected.

Also, right-hander Cristhian Martinez, who has been on the disabled list since April 7 with a right shoulder strain, is headed to the Braves' extended spring training in Orlando to begin a throwing program.

Brian McCann (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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