McCann is finally seeing a clearer picture
Catcher has battled dry-eye problems since start of 2009
ATLANTA -- Brian McCann has undergone multiple tests, tried numerous ointments, donned glasses and even undergone the Lasik surgical procedure for the second time in two years. Now the Braves All-Star catcher has learned that the vision problems he's battled since the start of the 2009 season may have been influenced by his caffeine consumption.
When the Braves were in Arizona last week, McCann was told to begin drinking more water and ridding himself of the high-caffeine energy drinks that he consumed on a regular basis. As a result, he has seemingly solved the chronic dry-eye problem he was battling, and gained the confidence that he can play without the assistance of glasses or contact lenses.
"I've been through a lot the last two years and I finally found a solution that works," McCann said. "I'm really excited about this. For the first time in about a year and a half, I'm able to come to the baseball field and not worrying about my eyes."
The Lasik procedure McCann underwent in October corrected the vision in his left eye. But when he spent the first month of this season bothered by blurred vision in his right eye, he determined that he needed to once again wear the prescription-fitted Oakleys that he had sported for the final five months of the 2009 season.
After spending about a week without consuming the dehydrating caffeine fluids, McCann gained the confidence on Wednesday night to rid himself of the glasses that had occasionally bothered him and his vision during games.
"My eyes wouldn't even hold a contact because they were so dry," McCann said. "Now I can rub my eyes and tears will start pouring out of them. I couldn't do that before."
Royals' roster loaded with former Braves
ATLANTA -- When Kyle Davies began his Major League career by tossing five scoreless innings at Fenway Park and then blanking the Mets in his second career start, the suburban Atlanta native had visions of spending a significant portion of his career with the hometown Braves.
But like Wilson Betemit, Davies never lived up to the expectations that were set when they were navigating their way through the Braves' Minor League system as highly-regarded prospects. This weekend, the duo returned to Atlanta with a number of other Royals teammates who spent time with the Braves.
With former Braves assistant general manager Dayton Moore serving as the roster architect, former Braves coach and current Royals manager Ned Yost had six former Braves on the 25-man roster that he submitted for Friday night's series opener at Turner Field.
Along with Davies and Betemit, Kyle Farnsworth, Anthony Lerew, Brayan Pena and Bruce Chen are current Royals who spent time playing for Bobby Cox in Atlanta. Kansas City began compiling former Braves shortly after Moore was named the club's general manager in June of 2006.
Davies, Betemit, and Pena were all members of the "Baby Braves", a group that included each of the 18 rookies utilized by the 2005 Atlanta club that saw Farnsworth blow a five-run, eighth-inning lead in Game 4 of the National League Division Series against the Astros.
When Davies starts against the Braves on Sunday, he will be facing a lineup that doesn't include many familiar faces from that 2005 season. Brian McCann, Chipper Jones and Tim Hudson are the only holdovers from that team.
"It's going to be emotional," Davies said. "But there's only a couple of guys left. So it will be like facing a whole different team."
Venters getting some zip on his sinker
ATLANTA -- Braves manager Bobby Cox said he's never seen a left-handed pitcher who has thrown his sinker as hard as Jonny Venters. In fact, he said he hasn't seen too many pitchers who have been able to routinely clock 95 mph with their two-seam sinkers.
Cox has been praising Venters' sinker long before the rookie southpaw arrived on the Major League scene this year and limited opponents to a .183 batting average through his first 25 career appearances. In fact, the 25-year-old hurler caught the veteran manager's attention during a bullpen session he completed in February.
"You can learn and see a lot of good stuff out there in the bullpen during Spring Training," Cox said. "He had one of those pitches that impressed you."
Entering Friday, Venters led all Major League rookie relievers (minimum of 20 appearances) in ERA (1.50) and opponents batting average. He ranked second with 33 strikeouts.
Venters had allowed just one earned run over a span of 18 innings before surrendering two earned runs against the Rays on Wednesday. Unfazed he returned during Thursday's series finale and worked a scoreless inning.
Saito, Jurrjens close to returning
ATLANTA -- Braves manager Bobby Cox has decided to give Takashi Saito a chance to pitch one inning for Triple-A Gwinnett before being activated from the disabled list.
Saito, who has been sidelined since June 3 with a left hamstring strain, was eligible to be activated on Saturday. But the Braves want the 40-year-old, right-handed reliever to make the rehab appearance for Gwinnett on Sunday. If all goes well, he will likely be activated for Tuesday's series opener against the White Sox in Chicago.
Jair Jurrjens will make his second rehab start on Saturday night, when Gwinnett hosts Syracuse. Jurrjens, who has been sidelined since April 29 with a strained left hamstring, is expected to throw somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 pitches. If all goes well, he'll likely need just one additional rehab start before being deemed ready to rejoin the Atlanta rotation.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.