Brian McCann struggled mightily down the stretch and was benched in the wild card game in favor of David Ross. There was an awful lot of talk about him being banged up, but it was apparently more than merely being banged up.
David O’Brien reports that McCann was diagnosed midseason with a frayed labrum and cyst in his throwing shoulder, that was mostly in need of rest, not the knife. But he McCann tells him the he will have an MRI within a week to determine the full extent of the damage. McCann is thinking surgery, it it could lead to a long rehab:
“We already basically know what is going to happen, what needs to happen,” McCann said. “I think it’s going to be [a matter of] how long I’m out for. Could be a couple of months, it could be a little more than that. Could be four or five months. We’ll see what happens. We’ll find out. I can’t really say right now, but I’m pretty sure surgery.”
Four months will put him into February and the start of spring training before he can do anything. Five runs well into March. It’s not a stretch to think that McCann — who will likely be playing on the $12 million team option the Braves are expected to exercise after the season is over — could miss the beginning of the season next year.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.