Notes: McCann undergoes MRI
Braves get good news regarding starting catcher's right knee
SAN DIEGO -- With John Smoltz having already determined he can't attend, the Braves' only representative at this year's All-Star Game will be Brian McCann, who is hoping his own health issues won't prevent him from being able to play.
Concerned about a sprained right knee that he suffered in Tuesday night's loss to the Dodgers, the Braves determined that it would be best for McCann to have an MRI exam in San Diego on Friday.
Fortunately, the results showed no structural damage, providing McCann some peace of mind. Soon after getting the results, he was forced into action because of an injury suffered by Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
When Saltalamacchia got hit in the head with a foul tip in Friday's seventh inning, McCann entered the game and was behind the plate for the final three innings. He suffered no ill-effects, giving him even more confidence that he'll play in Tuesday's All-Star Game, which will be held at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
"I plan on playing," McCann said. "I hope it's just a little bit of a strain and nothing too serious."
McCann, who earlier this season battled the lingering effects of a bruised left ring finger, began feeling discomfort in his knee after extending to his right to receive a pitch on Tuesday night. He remained in the game and recorded a hit in four at-bats while playing the entirety of Wednesday's victory over the Dodgers.
But during batting practice on Thursday, he and the Braves medical staff determined that it would be best to rest the knee. The only time he truly feels discomfort is when he's forced to block a pitch or move in a lateral direction behind the plate.
"I can run and everything," McCann said. "It just hurts me when blocking balls and moving side-to-side."
Reyes activated: Braves manager Bobby Cox officially announced that Jo-Jo Reyes will make his Major League debut against the Padres on Saturday while starting in place of Smoltz, who was placed on the disabled list Friday with right shoulder discomfort.
With Smoltz on the disabled list and a roster spot available, the Braves opted to activate Reyes for Friday night's game. The 22-year-old southpaw, who hails from Southern California, has gone 10-1 with a 3.08 ERA in 17 combined starts with Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Richmond this year.
With Smoltz on the disabled list, Reyes has the comfort of knowing he'll likely make at least two starts before potentially being sent back to the Minors. While Cox has never seen the southpaw pitch, Joey Devine, who also learned Friday that he'll be staying with Atlanta past the All-Star break, saw the young hurler display dominant stuff at Mississippi this year.
"He's got great stuff," Devine said. "I've seen him hit 95-96 [mph]. He's comfortable at pitching 89-92 [mph]. He's got a plus changeup and a plus breaking ball. Plus he's a bulldog. He's not a guy that's going to give in. He's going to go right after guys."
Devine ready to contribute: During his two previous promotions to Atlanta this year, Devine was available for a total of five games. When he got his latest call to the Majors on Thursday, it was initially thought he'd be heading back to the Minors on Saturday to create a roster spot for Reyes.
But because his bullpen has thrown 25 innings during the past five games, Cox decided he needed to keep Devine around for reinforcement. This was the primary reason Smoltz was placed on the 15-day DL.
Devine, who was the club's top selection in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, hasn't had much success at the Major League level. But while working with Mississippi pitching coach Derek Botelho this year, he's refined his mechanics and gained much better control. Instead of landing on the right heel of his lead leg, he's now regularly landing on his toes, allowing him to get better downward movement on his pitches.
In 35 innings with Mississippi this year, Devine has posted a 2.06 ERA, registered 51 strikeouts and issued just 13 walks.
This date in history: There aren't many moments from the 1980s that Braves fans choose to remember. One game that they remember fondly is the four-homer game enjoyed by Bob Horner against the Expos on July 6, 1986, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Friday marked the 21st anniversary of that historic contest.
Coming up: The Braves will continue their three-game series against the Padres on Saturday afternoon at 3:55 ET. They'll send Reyes to the mound to face 44-year-old David Wells (4-5, 4.16).
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.