08/24/12 11:05 PM ET
Reliable Janish a valuable asset for Braves
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
But Janish has made the most of his opportunity and positioned himself to begin the 2013 season as one of Atlanta's backup infielders. He has proven to be a skilled defensive asset and also provided some offensive contributions that the Braves were not expecting.
"Statistically, I feel like I could have had a little better offensive numbers, but that was not the role that I was going to have," Janish said. "We have a pretty good offensive team here. The team has done well since I've been here and that's something I take pride in. I've had some pitchers show some appreciation for making some plays. For me, that is more important than anything else."
Looking to give each of his regulars a chance to rest while in the process of playing games on 20 straight days, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez left Janish out of his starting lineup for Friday night's game against the Giants. It marked the first time the shortstop was not in Atlanta's lineup since joining the Braves on July 15.
The only other time the 29-year-old Janish played this frequently at the Major League level was when he served as the Reds' starting shortstop after Orlando Cabrera was injured late in the 2010 season.
Thus it was easy to understand why he told Gonzalez that he did not necessarily need a night to rest.
"He said, 'Are you all right playing every day for us?' I said, 'I'll play every day for five years if you want me to,'" Janish said.
McCann playing through shoulder pain
SAN FRANCISCO -- Brian McCann understands that he could be damaging his financial future by continuing to play through the right shoulder discomfort that has plagued him this year. But as long as he feels he can benefit the Braves, the six-time All-Star catcher has no desire to take the selfish route.
McCann will be eligible for free agency at the end of the 2013 season. Other players in his position have chosen to protect their financial future by opting not to play through injuries. But the Braves' 28-year-old veteran will not allow himself to think of this possibility as long as his team is in contention to compete in the postseason.
"As long as I can play, I'm going to continue to play," McCann said. "We've got a chance to go to the playoffs and the World Series. I'm going to do everything I can to help us get there."
McCann battled through some shoulder discomfort early this season and then hit .296 with nine home runs and a .704 slugging percentage in 71 at-bats during the month of July. He considers it to have been one of the finest months of his career.
Since the end of July, McCann has been limited to eight hits -- all singles -- in 52 at-bats. This discouraging skid had dropped his batting average to .230 entering Friday night's game against the Giants. He entered this season with a .286 career batting average.
"This has been a weird year," McCann said. "But there is still time for me to get going and help this team get to the playoffs."
McCann has been bothered by what the Braves have termed a right shoulder subluxation. An MRI exam performed earlier this season showed a cyst on his shoulder and some fraying on his labrum.
Since receiving a cortisone injection Aug. 7, McCann has realized some relief.
Though his swing might still be somewhat limited by the ailment, he has repeatedly said that he feels great from a physical standpoint. He could not say the same at this point last year when he returned too soon from an oblique strain and then spent the season's final six weeks scared that he might aggravate the injury.
Before suffering the oblique injury, McCann's career statistics included a .291 batting average and a .492 slugging percentage. In the 136 games he has played since the injury, he has batted .218 with a .396 slugging percentage.
Gonzalez opted to use Eric Hinske as his starting left fielder and Martin Prado as his starting shortstop Friday night. It marked the first time Hinske was in the starting lineup since July 14. That was also the only other date in which Prado had started at the shortstop position this year.
Entering Friday, Jason Heyward needed two more stolen bases to become the first Braves player since Andruw Jones in 2000 to record 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in the same season. Heyward also has a chance to become Atlanta's first 25/25 player since Jones earned that honor in 1998.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.