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G-BRAVES NOTES: McCann may start season in Gwinnett

Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann (16) is shown against the New York Mets in  a baseball game Sunday, July 15, 2012 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann (16) is shown against the New York Mets in a baseball game Sunday, July 15, 2012 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Gwinnett opens at Coolray Field next season and 10 of the first 19 games are at home, which could give G-Braves fans plenty of opportunities to see Brian McCann play.

With McCann expected to still be working back into shape during spring training, the catcher will likely spend at least part of April in the minors on an injury rehabilitation assignment.

The Duluth graduate and Suwanee resident underwent shoulder surgery on his right labrum in October and the Braves don't count on him to be ready to start the season in Atlanta.

Braves general manager Frank Wren said during the winter meetings that he expects McCann to be cleared for some baseball activity in March and then go out on a minor league rehab in early April.

The G-Braves open the Class AAA International League season with four games against Charlotte at Coolray Field beginning April 4. Then they return home on April 15 for four games with Norfolk before two more games with Charlotte on April 21-22.

When Gwinnett is on the road, McCann could rehab at Class A Rome. The R-Braves are home April 6-12 and April 18-21.

McCann played in one rehab game with the G-Braves in 2009 and two in 2011.

Bothered by his shoulder the last two months of the 2012 season, McCann had his worst year. The six-time National League all-star hit .230 with 20 homers and 67 RBIs in 121 games.

Atlanta expects to start 2013 with Gerald Laird, signed as a free agent to replace David Ross, doing most of the catching.

Christian Bethancourt, the Braves' top position prospect, is most likely to start the year in Gwinnett or back at Class AA Mississippi.

Atlanta signed Matt Pagnozzi to a minor league deal and re-signed Jose Yepez and Shawn McGill for catching depth in the organization. J.C. Boscan signed with the Chicago Cubs.

Teheran bouncing back

Julio Teheran's last three starts in the Dominican Winter League showed why the right-hander remains the Braves' top prospect despite a difficult second season with Gwinnett last summer.

The 21-year-old from Colombia allowed just two hits over 16 scoreless innings for Licey and one of the outings came with general manager Frank Wren, manager Fredi Gonzalez and other Braves officials watching during a four-day trip to the Dominican Republic.

Teheran allowed one hit while striking out eight and walking none in that start. He had pitched five no-hit innings in his previous game and is 2-1 with a 3.23 ERA in seven games.

Teheran regressed in 2012 with Gwinnett, going 7-9 with a 5.08 ERA after winning pitcher of the year honors in the International League in 2011 thanks to a 15-3 record and 2.55 ERA.

Hughes to return

Left-handed reliever Dusty Hughes, who appeared in 54 games last season for Gwinnett, was re-signed by Atlanta after becoming a minor league free agent.

Hughes, 30, was 3-2 in 2012 with a 3.31 ERA and four saves. He struck out 55 and walked 37 in 65 innings.

Hughes, who has spent time in the majors with the Royals and Twins, is pitching for Estrellas in the Dominican Winter League, where he has not given up a run in 8 innings.

Two pitchers with the G-Braves in 2012 have signed with other organizations. Erik Cordier signed with the Pirates and Buddy Carlyle with the Blue Jays.

Braves sign DeWitt

Blake DeWitt, who has seen time in the outfield as well as infield, signed a minor league contract with Atlanta.

DeWitt, 27, has spent parts of five seasons in the majors with the Dodgers and Cubs. The left-handed hitter was 4-for-29 in 18 games with the Cubs in 2012 while also spending time on the DL and with AAA Iowa.

Infielder Josh Wilson signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks. He appeared in 122 games with the G-Braves in 2012 and batted .241.