Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann (16) celebrates with first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) after a two-run home run in the fourth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
When Freddie Freeman wasn’t listed on Sunday afternoon’s lineup, we knew that he would be, at the very best, questionable for Tuesday’s All-Star Game. What we didn’t know was that once he was ruled out, he would have a teammate selected to replace him n the festivities.
Freeman opted out of his All-Star duties on Sunday afternoon as a result of a thumb injury suffered on Saturday, and while it isn’t expected to keep him out of the Braves lineup, he felt it necessary to hold himself out of the game. This, in itself, is a team-friendly decision for the Braves, and one that the fans should be proud of and happy with. Basically, Freeman is giving up the additional exposure/experience that he would receive upon appearing in the game in favor of the remaining half of the season, and that’s an admirable thing.
Fortunately for the Braves, Brian McCann’s latest hitting binge has been enough to get him to “the dance” in Freeman’s place.
McCann was selected by San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy to be the team’s 3rd catcher and to replace Freeman on the roster. It is the 7th All-Star selection of McCann’s 8-year career, and he will be returning to the limelight after last year’s injury-plagued season stopped a 6-year streak to start his career. McCann is scorching hot right now, with a slash line that has raised to .291/.374/.536 with 12 home runs in just 206 plate appearances.
There is surely debate about McCann’s merits as the replacement in the game (and frankly, there are probably more worthy candidates), but when Bochy openly discussed wanting a 3rd catcher in the game, McCann’s name rightly jumped to the forefront. It will be a pleasure to see McCann deployed in Tuesday’s game and if it is, in fact, the last season for him in a Braves uniform, that is an appropriate send-off.
For Freeman, he will still be recognized as an All-Star, and he will also travel to New York with McCann and Kimbrel for the week’s events. All in all, it is a successful set-up for the Braves, and having Atlanta players in Tuesday’s game should make the event more appealing for local fans. Stay tuned.