Braves’ McCann goes on IL, Jackson called up to make debut at catcher

Published 10:03 pm Monday, April 8, 2019

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves (5-4) stayed afloat above .500 this past weekend by winning a divisional series against the Miami Marlins (3-7).

All of the attention shifted to the catcher position as the weekend came to a close due to the injuries of Brian McCann and Tyler Flowers. On Saturday night in the bottom of the fourth inning, the 35-year-old McCann suffered a hamstring injury while sliding into third base. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Flowers was nailed in the hand while up to bat for Atlanta.

“When I was going down to slide, I kind of felt [his hamstring] grab, so  I knew I was probably coming out of the game,” McCann said. “I was hoping that when I got up, it wasn’t going to take me out of the game, but with those things, you have to be careful so it doesn’t turn into something major.”

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Although Flowers pushed through the pain to finish the game, the Braves were on the verge of looking at creative options to replace the only two active catchers on the roster.

“Charlie [Culberson]’s the emergency guy, he’s the emergency everything,” Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Charlie’s the emergency everything.”

Snitker continued with a more playful tone of Culberson being the team’s emergency pitcher.

“He’s caught some- well, I say that it doesn’t really matter as long as he’s willing to do it. I know we’ve got a glove broke in.”

Culberson, the seven-year infield utility veteran, isn’t exactly the most experienced option to have behind the plate.

“I was just ready if they needed me,” Culberson said. “I’ve just warmed up some pitchers in-between innings, that’s it, though. If it were to happen, I’d be able to do it. I think the last time I caught was like 10 [years old]. It’s been a while, it’s been a few years, but I think I could do it.”

On Sunday, McCann was placed on the 10-day injured list, which allowed 23-year-old Alex Jackson to get called up from Triple-A to make his big league debut in the Marlins’ series finale. In his debut, Jackson made no major errors and went 0-for-3 from the plate, but shortstop Dansby Swanson walked the team off with an RBI single to left field.

Swanson’s game-winner was the latest chapter of his standout start this season. Through Atlanta’s first nine games, the 25-year-old is hitting .346, nine RBIs and three home runs.

The Braves are in Colorado before ending the week with another divisional home series against the New York Mets.