McCann once again seeing clearly

ATLANTA -- Brian McCann thought his visions issues were a thing of the past. And who would have felt otherwise?

The Atlanta Braves' catcher from Duluth hit .500 this spring and you don't do that having trouble seeing the ball.

But almost all Grapefruit League games are played in the daytime. Once the regular seasons started, playing under the lights became the norm.

That is when McCann noticed that he had a problem and his plummeting average soon reflected it.

Instead of having further Lasik surgery on both eyes after last season, it turned out the McCann had it just on his left eye. It was thought that the right eye would correct itself.

In reality, it got worse. At night, the left-handed batter was trying to hit the ball with his front eye functioning at less than 20/20.

Not wanting to sound like he was making excuses for his slow start, McCann kept quiet as he explored solutions. He didn't want to have a situation like early last season, when he had to go on the disabled list.

Finally, McCann came clean with manager Bobby Cox about what was going on and took two days off.

Back to wearing glasses, there has been a noticeable difference not just in McCann's appearance.

McCann had his first two-hit game since April 14 on Tuesday in Milwaukee. On Friday night at Turner Field against Arizona, he hit his first homer since April 11.

Although he is still getting used to the glasses, they have obviously already had a positive effect. They may be a nuisance, but you can't argue with the results.

"Wish I had done it earlier, but this was my last resort," McCann said. "I was just trying to find any solution that would work."

McCann tried out the glasses for an at-bat in Philadelphia last Saturday and wore them at the plate in Milwaukee. Although he needs glasses mostly for night games while hitting, he plans to eventually go back to them fulltime at the plate and behind it.

"I'm going to wear them all of the time," McCann said. "Once you get used to hitting with the glasses, you don't want to hit without them. I've got the everyday ones to wear now, and I'm getting more and more used to it."

Even with his 2-for-4 outing in the Braves' 6-5 comeback win over Arizona in the series opener, McCann took just a .253 average into Saturday night's second game with the Diamondbacks at Turner Field.

But he has raised his average 10 points since getting the glasses and is now able to see the ball well day or night.

Before getting the glasses, McCann hit .180 with no homers and five RBIs in 15 night games. In his first three night games with the glasses, he was 4-for-12 with a homer and two RBIs.

That is more like McCann's normal production and what the Braves' need from their cleanup hitter.

McCann still went into Saturday night with just three homers and 12 RBIs in 30 games. He had four homers and 16 RBIs in 17 spring games.

"It's beyond frustrating," McCann said of his eye issues before donning his new glasses last weekend in Philadelphia.

"It bothered him at night," Cox said. "I didn't know it, but he'd been seeing his eye doctor regularly."

McCann had spent a month trying single contact lenses, medicated drops and anything else suggested. But it turned out that only new glasses would work, just like last season.

A year ago, McCann hit .195 with two homers in 41 at-bats over his first 13 games before going on the disabled list in late April.

McCann wore glasses after coming off the DL and hit .386 with 19 RBIs in his first 30 games back, and .289 with 19 homers and 87 RBIs over his final 125 games.

His first game back a year ago was May 9 in Philadelphia. A year later to the day, Philadelphia was again where McCann first tried out his new glasses.

The Braves are hoping for the same positive results.