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McCann on the 15 day DL
Last night, the Braves lost Brian McCann for a minimum of 15 days with a strained oblique muscle.
This couldn't have come at a worse time. The already tepid Braves lineup now loses its offensive leader, perennial All-Star, and captain. Even Fredi Gonzalez thinks that 15 days is optimistic, and that the Braves will probably be without McCann for 20 days or more.
The good news is that backup catcher David Ross has filled in nicely for McCann this season, so he should transition into the starters role seamlessly for the next month. However, Ross is a backup catcher for a reason, so any offense he generates is just an added bonus. J.C. Boscan from AAA Gwinnett has been called up to fill McCann's roster spot.
The Braves will desperately need the middle of the lineup to step up in McCann's absence, and since that hasn't happened yet this season, the outlook is bleak.
How the Braves handle this injury will be crucial to a post-season run. If they bring him back too soon, he could re-injure his back and be lost for the season. If they keep him on the shelf too long, they will drop too many games and risk missing the playoffs.
This is where a trade for a proven bat would do wonders. Carlos Beltran appears to be off the market and heading to San Francisco. The Braves could go after Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, or BJ Upton. For the Braves to re-enter the mix, Frank Wren may have to put one of his young pitching prospects on the trading block, whether he likes it or not.