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Brian McCann likely out until at least late April

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Brian McCann won't be donning the 'tools of ignorance' as soon as hoped. (Getty Images)

Braves catcher Brian McCann isn't progressing as hoped in his recovery from shoulder surgery. On Saturday, general manager Frank Wren said McCann won't be able to see minor-league rehab action until April 16 at the earliest. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes that date and projects outward.

Again, that's the best-case scenario. So the safe assumption is that McCann is going to miss at least the first month of the regular season.

The 29-year-old McCann is coming off an injury-sapped 2012 in which he hit just .230/.300/.399, which is far below his established level of performance at the plate (career OPS+ of 117). McCann's uncertain status is made more troubling by the fact that over the winter the Braves parted ways with David Ross, who is perhaps the best backup catcher in baseball. While new reserve Gerald Laird has his merits, he's not Ross.

Of course, what the Braves need is vintage McCann, so it's important the healing process isn't rushed. By the sounds of it, they're indeed taking the conservative tack.

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