LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Brian McCann, who took batting practice for the third time on Friday, is encouraged by the progress of his rehab from October surgery on his right shoulder.
"It was a great day," the catcher said. "Throwing was better than it has been and hitting it was the best I've felt."
McCann is scheduled to take batting practice again today and also throw for the second day in a row, again making two sets of 20 tosses at 120 feet. It will be the first time he has been cleared to do so on back-to-back days.
"I'm making the necessary steps forward," he said.
McCann won't be cleared for game action until at least April. He is hoping to play by April 16 six months after his surgery. But he doesn't know if that will be in the majors or not.
"I've just got to be smart," said McCann, who will likely need at least a brief minor league stint.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez certainly liked what he saw of McCann in batting practice.
"If I didn't know he had surgery and was doing the rehab thing, I would have thought he was ready for the season," Gonzalez said. "I didn't see anything out of the ordinary swinging with the shoulder.
"He's coming along fine ... right on schedule. I think the last thing is going to be the throwing."
Johnson dominates Braves hitters
The Braves may be fortunate that they no longer have to regularly face Josh Johnson, who was part of the big trade between Miami and Toronto in the offseason.
Johnson, making his third spring start for the Blue Jays, retired all 11 batters he faced on Friday and struck out five of them in a 7-1 victory at Champion Stadium over a split-squad. The Braves finished with just two hits.
"He was nasty," Braves starter Kris Medlen said of Johnson. "He was really good."
Medlen was just OK after pitching well in his first two spring starts. He was touched for three runs in four innings, giving up four hits, walking none and striking out three while throwing 36 of his 49 pitches for strikes.
"I think I threw too many strikes," said Medlen, who wasn't able to command his fastball with the normal pinpoint accuracy.
Toronto rookie center fielder Anthony Gose hit a two-run homer in the third inning. Gose, who finished 3-for-4, had led off the game with a single and scored on Ryan Langerhans' hit after his first of two stolen bases.
The victory by Johnson was his second of the spring and he has a 1.17 ERA with eight strikeouts, no walks and just two hits allowed.
"He's ready to go right now," Gonzalez said of Johnson. "We had no chance."
Freeman, Gattis swing hot bats
The Braves team that traveled across Kissimmee to play Houston had a lot more success at the plate than the split-squad that stayed at home.
Freddie Freeman had a two-run homer and drew two walks, while Evan Gattis was 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs in the 14-9 victory. The Braves scored six times in the first inning and finished with 17 hits.
Dan Uggla, Chris Johnson, Joey Terdoslavich, Tyler Pastornicky and Todd Pagnozzi all had two hits, with Johnson, Terdoslavich and Pastornicky each driving in a pair of runs.
Sean Gilmartin started for the Braves and allowed five hits and two runs over three innings.
The Braves, which play the New York Yankees in Tampa today, are 7-8 in Grapefruit League play.