UPDATE: So much for McCann potentially coming off the disabled list early next week, as manager Fredi Gonzalez told Mark Bowman of MLB.com that the plan is for his minor-league rehab stint to last at least 10 games.
Brian McCann had to put his rehab from shoulder surgery on hold because of a wrist injury, but David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves catcher is feeling good enough to begin a minor-league rehab assignment tonight.
McCann will be in the lineup for high Single-A Rome and it sounds like the plan is for him to play there all weekend before potentially coming off the disabled list as soon as Monday.
McCann and the Braves have been targeting May 1 as a return date, which would be Wednesday, so it’s possible they’ll ask the catcher to put in a little more time in the minors. McCann hit just .219 with a .653 OPS in the second half last season while playing through the shoulder pain, finishing with a career-worst .698 OPS after four straight seasons above .800.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.