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McCann begins new chapter with Yankees

Brian 
McCann

Brian McCann

TAMPA — Brian McCann took the field in a New York Yankees uniform for the first time Saturday, his beard gone and No. 34 on his back instead of the No. 16 he wore for nine seasons with the Atlanta Braves.

With pitchers and catchers working out at George M. Steinbrenner Field, McCann could begin the process of getting familiar with his new teammates after signing a five-year $85 million contract in November as a free agent.

“It’s definitely going to be different,” McCann said. “I look at it as a challenge. It’s exciting to get to know guys. I’ve just got to put in extra time, that’s it. That’s all I’m going to have to do is put some extra time in and get to know the people.”

Shortly after signing with the Yankees, McCann received an iPad stocked with video of New York’s pitchers and some American League East hitters.

“That’s the great thing about technology these days,” the 29-year-old Duluth graduate said.

McCann was regarded as one of the leaders in the Braves’ clubhouse following Chipper Jones’ retirement, but he isn’t necessarily looking to take on a similar role with the Yankees.

Of course, he really doesn’t need to assume a major leadership role this season with captain Derek Jeter playing his final season.

“I think sometimes that word gets thrown around, like you have to have this or you have to have that,” he said. “I’m not a big guy where you’re set in your ways. If you can get 25 guys pulling in one direction, you’re going to win a lot more ballgames.”