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Winning, not future, McCann's focus

If the Braves don’t win at least one game in Los Angeles, Brian McCann may have played for the last time at Turner Field wearing the only uniform he’s known.

The Duluth graduate and Suwanee resident admitted that he couldn’t avoid a thought about what might be ahead on his way to the ballpark before Friday’s 4-3 victory over the Dodgers evened the best-of-5 National League Division Series at a game apiece.

It was far from the thing he was the most concerned about, though.

“When I think about it, it’s definitely there,” said McCann, who becomes a free agent after the season. “But at the same time, I mean, what we’re doing here is way more important than what’s going to happen to me after the season.”

The 29-year-old catcher was 0-for-2 with a walk on Friday and is 0-for-5 with two walks and a strikeout in the two games against the Dodgers.

McCann left for a pinch runner after his seventh-inning walk on Friday and it was Gerald Laird who threw out Dee Gordon trying to steal for a key out in the ninth inning.

McCann missed the final three games of the regular season with a right adductor strain and saw his production slip in September for the third straight season. He hit .170 during the final month, finishing with a .256 average, 20 homers and 57 RBIs in 102 games.

The seven-time All-Star Game selection played through a shoulder injury last year and had to have surgery after the season. He missed more than a month this season recovering.

It is because of the rigors of catching that McCann is expected to be the most coveted by an American League team, which can also used him as the designated hitter.

The Braves, though, have always been McCann’s hometown team. He was taken in the second round of the 2002 draft and made his debut in 2005.

His home run off Houston’s Roger Clemens in Game 2 of the NLDS that year had helped the Braves to their last postseason victory at home until Friday.

“This is my ninth year here and this is the third time making the postseason, fourth if you want to count the wild-card game,” McCann said. “You don’t get these chances very often and when you get them it’s special. The feeling you get when you walk on the field for a postseason baseball game is like nothing you’ll ever experience.

“Everything is out the window.”