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McCann activated, makes presence felt

Catcher sustained a right hamstring strain on April 6; Foltynewicz slated for one more rehab start
@mlbbowman
April 17, 2019

ATLANTA -- Though he is on the back end of his career, Brian McCann still appears to be a quick healer. McCann returned to the Braves’ lineup in Wednesday's 3-2, 10-inning loss to the D-backs at SunTrust Park. His return came less than two weeks after he strained his right

ATLANTA -- Though he is on the back end of his career, Brian McCann still appears to be a quick healer.

McCann returned to the Braves’ lineup in Wednesday's 3-2, 10-inning loss to the D-backs at SunTrust Park. His return came less than two weeks after he strained his right hamstring while running the bases during an April 6 loss to the Marlins, and he promptly contributed a two-run double in the second.

“He’s done all the drills and all the hitting,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said Tuesday. "He says he feels really good.”

McCann’s hamstring reacted favorably as he healed last week and did not restrict him from participating in baseball activities for more than a few days. The veteran catcher has not felt any discomfort while catching bullpen sessions or taking batting practice. Running exercises have given him the confidence that his maximum speed will not put him in jeopardy of aggravating the ailment.

This quick return is nothing new for McCann, who missed less than three weeks with a high ankle sprain in 2006. The seven-time All-Star catcher also returned much earlier than expected from a 2011 oblique strain that forced him to miss just 15 games.

McCann will once again share the catching duties with Tyler Flowers, and his return from the injured list sent Alex Jackson back to Triple-A Gwinnett. Jackson has continued to create encouragement regarding his defensive development. But he’s gone hitless through the first 10 at-bats of his career, providing a glimpse of why some scouts are more concerned about his offensive capabilities.

One more for Folty
Mike Foltynewicz was tentatively scheduled to come off the injured list in time to make a start during this upcoming weekend’s series in Cleveland. But after Foltynewicz allowed six hits and issued four walks over just 3 2/3 innings for Gwinnett on Monday, the Braves decided he will make another rehab start before being activated.

“He wasn’t real sharp,” Snitker said. “He missed a lot [of time]. That’s the thing. It’s like he’s going through Spring Training again. I don’t think it will hurt anything. He’s still knocking the rust off. For now, it’s not anything more than just getting back out there and being a little more crisp.”

Foltynewicz was shut down for a few weeks after being bothered by a right elbow bone spur during his Feb. 24 spring debut. The All-Star hurler will be making his fourth rehab start for Gwinnett when he returns to the mound this weekend.

With Foltynewicz not available this weekend, the Braves will alter their rotation plans. Touki Toussaint will have his next start pushed back, as Mike Soroka will be promoted from Gwinnett to start Thursday’s series finale against the D-backs.

Soroka has not thrown more than 70 pitches during either of his first two starts for Gwinnett. But Kyle Wright, who is scheduled to start Thursday for Gwinnett, is not an option because 10 days have not passed since he was optioned.

Paving the way
Braves third-base coach Ron Washington was introduced to racism as he grew up in New Orleans during the 1950s and ‘60s. But he was 21 years old and in his second full professional season with the Royals’ Class A affiliate in Waterloo, Iowa, before he came to truly understand what Jackie Robinson had done for him and other African-American baseball players.

“I think it was in 1973, when I first read his book,” Washington said. “I would read it on the bus rides. That’s when I realized what the [heck] was going on. I was involved in a lot of racism myself, but not to the extent he was.”

Washington’s experience further heightens the importance of continuing to celebrate and learn from Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier when he debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.

Because they were off when the anniversary was celebrated Monday, the Braves and D-backs honored Robinson’s memory during Tuesday’s series opener. All on-field personnel wore No. 42 jerseys and the hats were adorned with a commemorative patch.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.