5/7/2013 12:56 A.M. ET
Fredi expects to see Pastornicky back with Braves
By Tony Meale / Special to MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Tyler Pastornicky was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday, but manager Fredi Gonzalez won't be surprised if the 23-year-old is back in a Braves uniform this season.
"I see a kid that can help us," Gonzalez said. "I think in the future somewhere down the line he could help us. He's an offensive guy, he's athletic, he can steal you a base. I suspect that not barring any injuries or anything like that, we'll see him again. He can help us win games in the Major Leagues."
Pastornicky was optioned to open up a roster spot for catcher Brian McCann, who came off of the disabled list. McCann, who underwent offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, made his season debut Monday night against the Reds.
Pastornicky went 1-for-7 with a double and two sacrifice bunts in six games for the Braves. He started one game at second base.
McCann says shoulder feels 'great' after debut
CINCINNATI -- Braves catcher Brian McCann, who was making his season debut after spending five weeks on the disabled list, went 0-for-4 with a walk in Monday's 7-4 win over the Reds.
"My timing was a little off," McCann said. "I actually saw the ball great, but as far as hitting it, I was just a little bit behind or in front. The timing's going to get there. If I'm seeing the baseball like I am right now, I'm in a good place."
McCann, 29, underwent offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He split a seven-game rehab assignment between Class A Rome and Triple-A Gwinnett, during which he went 8-for-23 with four home runs and nine RBIs.
McCann looked fully healed against the Reds, as he fielded multiple bunts and made sharp, accurate throws to first.
"It feels great," McCann said of his shoulder. "I've made all the throws that I needed to make, and I've tested it as much as I could possibly test it and it responds well the next day. Today couldn't have gone any better."
Braves starter Paul Maholm was happy to have McCann back.
"When you add a perennial All-Star and a Silver Slugger, it's always good for the lineup and the clubhouse," Maholm said. "He knows the hitters, he's been around, he understands how you pitch. I've thrown to [Evan] Gattis every time, and we've had success, [but] it's always good to get a guy with eight or nine years of experience."
McCann hit .230 with 20 home runs and 67 RBIs in 121 games last season.
"I think he adds a different dynamic to our lineup," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's obviously a dangerous hitter."
Gonzalez doesn't plan to play McCann at catcher every day and said he will likely give the six-time All-Star an off-day on Wednesday, when the Braves close a three-game series with the Reds at 12:35 p.m. ET.
Gonzalez must now decide what to do with Gattis and Gerald Laird, who hit a combined .287 with six home runs and 21 RBIs while filling in for McCann.
"I think he's been unbelievable," McCann said of Gattis. "I've been impressed with what he's been doing behind the plate with the pitchers. He's been fun to watch. And obviously, what he's done with the bat, he's been nothing short of awesome."
Gattis, batting fifth, played left field on Monday.
Things will only get more complicated for the Braves when Jason Heyward comes off the disabled list. The 23-year-old underwent an emergency appendectomy on April 22.
"It gets a little difficult when Jason comes back to carry three catchers," Gonzalez said, "but I don't even worry about that because something else will happen, so why even worry about it until he comes back?"
As for McCann, he's happy to make his return at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, but he's even happier just to be back with his teammates and playing again.
"That's what you miss the most -- the plane flights, the hanging out, the dinners; those are the things that you cherish the most in this game," McCann said. "I feel really good. I've just got to get back in the swing of things. Obviously, the speed of the game is going to be fast, but I'm going to try to slow everything down.
"I want to impact the game. That's what my job is, and that's what I plan on doing."
Heyward takes BP for first time since appendectomy
CINCINNATI -- Braves right fielder Jason Heyward continues to progress from the emergency appendectomy that he underwent on April 22.
Heyward, who has been on the disabled list since April 23, has been throwing indoors and took batting practice before Monday's game against the Reds.
Heyward said he is not holding back one iota while swinging.
"Nothing's stopping me, grabbing me, pinching me -- nothing," Heyward said. "That's the [only] reason I'm taking BP -- because I can."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is encouraged by Heyward's progression.
"I'm encouraged every day with Jason," he said. "I assumed he was going to take BP [on Tuesday], but he said he wanted to do it today. I said, 'Be my guest.' I'm encouraged with the way he feels. He keeps feeling better and stronger, so we'll keep it coming."
Still, there's no timetable for Heyward to begin his rehab assignment.
"We'll see what happens here," Heyward said. "I don't know. Barring setbacks, I think there's a good chance I could leave Wednesday, maybe. But we'll see what they say. That's just me talking. The sooner I leave, the sooner I'll come back."
Gonzalez, however, said Wednesday might be optimistic.
"We're going day to day with him, getting him stronger and feeling better," Gonzalez said. "I think after we leave [Cincinnati], I'll have a better read."
Heyward hasn't thrown outside yet and is focused on building his endurance for long toss.
"Now it's just about getting into a routine -- getting in the hot tub, getting the body loose, things like that," Heyward said. "We're just testing everything out. So far, nothing but great responses from [the left side] of my body, and I'm making sure I'm meeting everything halfway by being in shape."
Heyward is hitting .121 with two home runs and five RBIs in 58 at-bats this season.
Braves to make up game vs. Mets on June 18
CINCINNATI -- The Atlanta Braves' game against the New York Mets that was postponed on Saturday has been rescheduled for June 18 at 1:10 p.m. ET as part of a split doubleheader.
Fans who had tickets to the May 4 game can use their tickets to enter the 1:10 p.m. game on June 18 or exchange the paid ticket for any remaining 2013 regular-season home games, pending availability. Exchanges can be made at the Turner Field Ticket Office during normal business hours or via mail; please visit braves.com/rainout for details.
Exchanges must be made prior to the rescheduled game on June 18.
• Jordan Schafer hit the first pinch-hit homer of his career in the eighth inning. The homer, which followed Andrelton Simmons' two-run shot, traveled an estimated 417 feet.
• Gattis went 1-for-4 with an RBI double to deep left-center field in the fifth inning to give the Braves a 4-2 lead.
Tony Meale is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.