By Corey Clark
Brian McCann wasn't voted to the 2007 All-Star Game by the fans.
And he wasn't chosen by National League manager Tony LaRussa either.
Instead McCann received perhaps the most rewarding compliment a major leaguer can get when he was voted into the All-Star Game, his second, by his fellow players.
The Duluth grad was selected as the National League's reserve catcher in the player balloting, joining pitcher John Smoltz as the only two Braves to make the Midsummer Classic in San Francisco.
"I'm happy to be going," McCann told MLB.com on Sunday. "But I don't feel like I really deserve it."
The other players in the league feel differently however.
Although McCann isn't having nearly the season he did last year (.333, 24 home runs, 94 RBIs) - then again, it was one of the best offensive seasons by a catcher in recent Major League Baseball history - he is still putting up solid numbers through the first half of the 2007 season.
Heading into Monday night's game in Los Angeles, McCann was batting .261 with seven home runs and 41 RBIs. His RBI total and his .739 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) were second in the league to the Dodgers' Russell Martin, who won the fan vote.
"I didn't expect to go," McCann said. "I'm not having the best season. My
average isn't where it wants to be. But my power numbers are better than they were last year."
Last year at the break McCann had six home runs and 29 RBIs after missing three weeks of the season with a severely sprained ankle. He was selected as an all-star in 2006 by Astros manager Phil Garner.
This year he also has had to deal with a painful injury. On April 22, McCann was hitting .339 with 10 extra-base hits in just 62 at-bats. But he was hit on the left ring finger during a bunt attempt against the Mets.
In the 179 at-bats that followed, McCann has hit just .235 with 16 extra-base hits. The 23-year-old, who is still the second-youngest all-star (Milwaukee's Prince Fielder is three months younger), has shown recent signs of regaining his 2006 form, however.
Over the last six games, McCann has hit .320 with two home runs, three doubles and six RBIs.
"Mac deserves it," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "His average is down right now. But for the most part, he's had a solid season."
According to the guys who play against him every day, the ones whose opinions really matter, he's had an all-star season.