ATLANTA -- After undergoing successful surgery to repair his right shoulder on Tuesday afternoon, Braves catcher Brian McCann will spend the next few months rehabbing with the understanding that he might not be ready for the start of the 2013 season.
The Braves issued a release late Tuesday night that revealed McCann should be able to begin hitting off a tee and completing other light baseball activities in four months. If all goes well with the rehab process, he should be able to return to full baseball activity in six months.
This timetable would allow McCann to begin light baseball-related workouts around the start of Spring Training. If he needs a full six months to complete his rehab, he would not be cleared to begin playing until mid-April, or approximately two weeks after Opening Day.
The Braves have not committed to exercising McCann's $12 million option for the 2013 season. They have until three days beyond the conclusion of the World Series to make this decision.
Braves orthopedic surgeon Dr. Xavier Duralde performed the two-hour surgical procedure. Along with cleaning some damaged areas around the shoulder, Duralde inserted anchors into the posterior portion of McCann's labrum. The labrum tear proved to be longer than a recent MRI exam had revealed.
McCann was fortunate that the surgical procedure was limited to the posterior portion of his shoulder. If the damage in the front portion of his shoulder would have been extensive enough to also require repair, McCann would have likely been looking at a longer rehab schedule.
Noted surgeons Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who recently surgically repaired Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp's shoulder, were among those who viewed one of McCann's most recent MRI exam results. Both suggested that this surgical procedure should be limited to the posterior portion of McCann's shoulder.
After reviewing the results of an MRI exam performed in early August, the Braves diagnosed McCann with a shoulder subluxation. The exam also showed a cyst on the top of the shoulder and a frayed labrum.
All of the discomfort McCann battled this past season came when he was swinging the bat. His shoulder never bothered him when making throws.
McCann played through shoulder discomfort as he hit .230 with 20 home runs and a .698 OPS in 121 games this past season.
Nine of his home runs were hit as he batted .296 with a 1.059 OPS in July. It was during this productive stretch that he first indicated that his shoulder had been bothering him most of the season.
Instead of building off of July's success, McCann spent the season's final two months dealing with the additional pain he felt when he reached for a pitch or found himself out in front of an offspeed delivery. He hit .201 with two home runs and a .541 OPS in his final 39 games.