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McCann wins Silver Slugger Award

Brian McCann

Brian McCann

Brian McCann showed this season that he is still quite a hitter even when he can't see the ball perfectly.

The Braves catcher from Duluth won his third Silver Slugger Award on Thursday as the best hitting catcher in the National League despite early season vision problems that led to him having to wear glasses that often steamed up.

McCann had additional Lasik surgery after the season and hopes to be able to avoid glasses next season.

The 25-year-old was named to the National League team for the All-Star Game for the fourth time in as many full seasons and again won the Silver Slugger in voting by NL managers and coaches.

Batting cleanup most of the year, McCann led NL catchers with 21 homers, 94 RBIs and an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of .834. The left-handed hitter finished with a .281 batting average.

McCann previously won Silver Slugger Awards in 2006 and 2008. His only full season not winning was 2007.

Just six major league catchers have won more than three Silver Slugger Awards -- Mike Piazza (10), Ivan Rodriguez (7), Lance Parrish (6), Jorge Posada (5), Gary Carter (5) and Benito Santiago (4).

Minnesota's Joe Mauer -- the American League's leading hitter -- joined McCann with a third Silver Slugger Award this season.

The announcement of McCann's honor came a few hours after the Braves officially announced the re-signing of pitcher Tim Hudson. The three-year deal is believed to be worth about $27 million and there is an option for a fourth season.

Hudson, 34, made it back from reconstructive elbow surgery in 2009, going 2-1 with a 3.61 ERA in seven late-season starts. His career record with Oakland and Atlanta is 148-78.

With Hudson returning, the Braves have a surplus of starting pitchers and are expected to trade Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez or Kenshin Kawakami for a needed power hitter.

Hudson's contract was agreed on last week, but not finalized until be had an MRI to complete his physical.

"I'm excited. My family is excited," the former Auburn standout said. "Our home is here in the Southeast, so being close to home is a blessing.

"I hope I can help bring a championship back here to Atlanta. We've got a great young club and a great young pitching staff. I'm looking forward to doing everything I can to help us win."

Hudson's .655 winning percentage ranks 12th in major league history among pitchers with at least 200 decisions. He is fourth among active pitchers, behind Pedro Martinez (.687), Roy Oswalt (.662) and Roy Halladay (.661).

Hudson will join McCann tonight at Georgia Tech's Ross Chandler Stadium for a charity event to raise funds for the battle against childhood cancer.

The Brian McCann Rally Celebrity Softball Game is scheduled to begin at 7:35 p.m. after a home run derby at 7 p.m. McCann will captain one of the teams and Chipper Jones the other.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Children 12 and under will be admitted free.