08/31/08 1:35 PM ET
Chipper, McCann out of starting lineup
Third baseman and catcher expected to return on Monday
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
But with Jones fighting some congestion caused by allergies and McCann in need of a deserved day off, Braves manager Bobby Cox constructed a lineup without either All-Star on Sunday morning at Nationals Park.
Given that this was a day game following a night game and a contest that had no bearing on the postseason, it was a prime opportunity for Cox to rest Jones and McCann, who both plan to be in the lineup for Monday afternoon's game against the Marlins at Dolphin Stadium.
"I woke up pretty sore today," said McCann, who still is sporting a large welt and bruise that developed after he fouled a pitch off his right shin during last weekend's series against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
McCann, who had started 20 of the previous 22 games since returning from a mild concussion he suffered on July 27, halted a mini slump with multihit performances during the first two games of this weekend's series. During his previous 16 games, he had batted .200 (11-for-55) and seen his average drop from .305 to .292.
With his batting average sitting at .296, McCann is in position to hit over .300 for the second time in his first three full Major League seasons. He currently leads all Major League catchers with 23 home runs and a .909 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage).
"Honestly, I [couldn't] care less about hitting .300 or anything like that," McCann said. "All I want to do is play hard and have us put together some kind of [winning] streak to carry into the offseason."
Jones, who has been battling tendinitis in his right elbow, entered Sunday with a .359 batting average, putting him slightly behind Albert Pujols, who leads the National League with a .362 mark. This marked just the second day in a span of 136 days that the Atlanta third baseman wasn't leading the batting race.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.