At the plate, Brian McCann looks ready to rejoin the Braves. Behind it, however, his recovery from right shoulder surgery remains a work in progress.
McCann homered in his first at-bat for Class A Rome on Friday and, after a walk, connected for a second two-run shot in his third plate appearance. But the game at Greensboro to start his minor league rehab assignment also showed that the catcher's throwing still needs work.
McCann tossed the ball into center field twice, committing errors on half Greensboro's four stolen bases in as many attempts in his six innings behind the plate.
The Braves, who beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 Monday, have said all along that throwing would be McCann's final hurdle and that is obviously the case. He had surgery last Oct. 16 and his rehab assignment in the minors was delayed about a week when he developed soreness in his right wrist.
McCann served as the designated hitter for Rome on Saturday and had an RBI double, making him 3-for-7 with two walks and five RBIs in the first two games.
Rome was rained out Sunday and played a doubleheader Monday, with McCann catching the first game.
If all goes well on his minor league rehab, McCann could be ready to rejoin the Braves early in their 10-game road trip that starts May 6 in Cincinnati. He is expected to need at least half of the maximum 20-day rehab time.
McCann is scheduled to stick with Rome through a home game Wednesday, then join Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday to start a four-game home series with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
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.
Rookie Evan Gattis has been doing the bulk of the catching in McCann's absence, with Gerald Laird mostly just working with rookie starter Julio Teheran. Despite slumping after a hot start, Gattis is scheduled to stay with the Braves after McCann's return and will be available to fill in at first base or left field as well as catch.
STREAK: Won one
PAST 10 GAMES: 3-7
NEXT: Nationals (Gio Gonzalez, 2-1, 4.50) at Braves (Tim Hudson, 2-1, 4.50)
--OF Justin Upton has the club-record 12 home runs in April, breaking the old mark shared by Andres Galarraga and Ryan Klesko. He is two home runs shy of the major league record shared by Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols. Upton didn't hit his 12th home run last season until Sept. 1, his 122nd game and 441st at-bat.
--RHP Tim Hudson will make his third attempt to win his 200th career game. He was beaten by Pittsburgh on March 19 and received no decision on March 24 when closer Craig Kimbrel blew his first save of the year. Hudson is 15-5 with a 2.60 ERA in 27 career starts against Washington and beat the Nationals 3-1 on April 13.
--C Brian McCann continues a minor-league rehab assignment with Class A Rome. McCann was 3-for-7 with a double, two home runs and five RBI in his first two games. He is expected to be activated next week when the team goes on a three-city 10-game road trip. McCann had successful arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder to repair a torn labrum on Oct. 12, 2012.
--2B Dan Uggla was hitless in 10 at-bats in the three-game series at Detroit, but bounced back with a pair of hits against Washington ace Stephen Strasburg. Uggla is now 11-for-23 against Strasburg after going 2-for-3.
--OF Jordan Shafer reached base four times (three walks and a single) Monday to raise his average to .346. But he isn't likely to play on Tuesday against Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez. "He's done a terrific job," said Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez, who will continue to use Reed Johnson against lefties while Jason Heyward is recovering from an appendix operation.
--3B Chris Johnson went hitless Monday, but is still batting .393 (24 for 61) over his last 15 games. He has 10 multi-hit games, tied for fourth-best in the National League. Johnson has been held without a hit only three times in his last 15 starts.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The bullpen was terrific. The bullpen was the key to the game." -- Manager Fredi Gonzalez after Monday's won over Washington.
--C Brian McCann (right shoulder surgery in October 2012) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Rome on April 26, and he will move up to Triple-A Gwinnett on May 2. He is expected to be ready to rejoin the Braves during a 10-game road trip that begins May 6 in Cincinnati.
--RHP Brandon Beachy (Tommy John surgery in June 2012) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He threw live batting practice for the first time April 26. He hopes he'll be ready to go out on a minor league rehab assignment in early May. If all goes well, he could return to the Atlanta rotation in mid-June.
--RF Jason Heyward (appendectomy) underwent the procedure April 22, and he went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to that date. The timetable for his return is unknown.
--INF Blake DeWitt (lower back strain) went on the 15-day disabled list April 20. He missed most of the second half of last season with back issues.
--SS Paul Janish (left shoulder surgery in October 2012) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on April 15. He has an option remaining, and he will likely stay with Gwinnett after the rehab stint unless an opening develops in Atlanta.
--RHP Cristhian Martinez (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 7.
--LHP Jonny Venters (left elbow sprain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27. He will be shut down for four weeks and isn't expected to pitch again until late May or early June. He had to leave a spring game against the Tigers on March 26, and he received a platelet-rich plasma injection from Dr. James Andrews on April 2 after an MRI was inconclusive. He is scheduled to begin a throwing program April 30 and hopes it will lead to his return before the end of May.
RHP Tim Hudson
LHP Paul Maholm
RHP Kris Medlen
LHP Mike Minor
RHP Julio Teheran
RHP Craig Kimbrel (closer)
LHP Eric O'Flaherty
RHP Jordan Walden
LHP Luis Avilan
RHP Cory Gearrin
RHP Luis Ayala
RHP Anthony Varvaro
1B Chris Johnson
2B Dan Uggla
SS Andrelton Simmons
3B Juan Francisco
INF Ramiro Pena
1B Freddie Freeman
INF Tyler Pastornicky
LF Justin Upton
CF B.J. Upton
OF Reed Johnson
OF Jordan Schafer