6-time All-Star McCann set to come off DL Monday

by Charles Odum, AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta's six-time All-Star catcher Brian McCann will come off the disabled list on Monday when the Braves open a series in Cincinnati.

McCann had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder last October. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after Sunday's 9-4 win over the Mets that McCann will be active and with the team Monday.

Gonzalez said infielder Tyler Pastornicky will be optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett to clear a roster spot for McCann.

McCann completed his rehab assignment with Gwinnett on Sunday.

"That's huge," said first baseman Freddie Freeman. "That's like trading for an All-Star."

McCann hit .364 with four homers in his first six games with Class A Rome and Gwinnett, but the bigger question has been how his shoulder holds up to his throws to second base. McCann said his arm is ready.

"The way I'm throwing now is basically the way I was throwing before I got hurt," McCann said this week. "The ball is coming out great.

"I tested my arm as much as I could possibly test it and woke up the next day and felt the same as the day before."

The decision to send Pastornicky to Gwinnett will leave the Braves with three catchers: McCann, Gerald Laird and rookie Evan Gattis.

Gattis, who had two hits on Sunday, is hitting .261 with seven homers and 18 RBIs. Gattis, the NL rookie of the month for April, is expected to play behind McCann and may have spot starts at first base and in the outfield.

Gonzalez said third baseman Juan Francisco is day to day with a mild right ankle sprain he suffered Friday. Francisco has shared time with Chris Johnson at third base.

Right fielder Jason Heyward, who had his appendix removed on April 22, is ready to take batting practice. Heyward will be with the team as it begins its 10-game road trip in Cincinnati and San Francisco.

Gonzalez said "there's still no timetable on where or when" Heyward begins his minor league rehabilitation assignment.

"He's taking it day by day right now," Gonzalez said. "He's feeling better every day."

Soon after his surgery, Heyward said he hoped to return by the end of May. It is possible Heyward could recover faster than he expected.

Also, right-hander Cristhian Martinez, who has been on the disabled list since April 7 with a right shoulder strain, is headed to the Braves' extended spring training in Orlando to begin a throwing program.

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