McCann homers twice in first rehab game

Brian McCann had to wait longer than he had hoped to begin his minor league rehab assignment. But it couldn't have started better at the plate once he finally made it back to the field.

The catcher hit a pair of two-run homers for Class A Rome at Greensboro on Friday night and is scheduled to play for Class AAA Gwinnett next week before rejoining the Atlanta Braves.

The G-Braves begin an eight-game homestand on Thursday at Coolray Field and McCann will likely play in at least the four-game series with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after his stint with Rome.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said before Atlanta's game at Detroit that McCann will likely need about half of his allowed 20 days on the rehab assignment to get ready for the majors again.

But McCann may need more time to get his arm up to par. He made two throwing errors while catching six innings against Greensboro and the Grasshoppers stole four bases off him.

McCann has surgery on his right shoulder on Oct. 16 and was expected to be able to begin his rehab assignment on about the six-month anniversary. But a sore right wrist delayed his opportunity to begin catching during extended spring training games in Florida.

The Duluth graduate and Suwanee resident had been able to serve as a designated hitter since late March, so he should be way ahead at the plate compared to behind it.

McCann showed that in his first trip to the plate for Rome and then followed a walk with a second two-run homer in his third trip to the plate. He finished 2-for-3 with two walks.

Rome plays four games in Greensboro and then opens a home series with Greenville on Wednesday after an off day. McCann is scheduled to play the opener before joining Gwinnett the next day.

McCann, a six-time National League all-star and Silver Slugger winner, had shoulder issues most of last season and finished with his worst year offensively. He hit .230 with 20 homers and 67 RBIs in 121 games.

If all goes well on his minor league rehab, McCann should be able to rejoin the Braves for a 10-day road trip that begins on May 6 at Cincinnati.