PHILADELPHIA -- When the Braves and Phillies conclude their three-game series on Sunday, Brian McCann will experience his first All-Star break since the one that he enjoyed two months after making his Major League debut in 2005.
But instead of dwelling on his disappointing first half, McCann will spend the next few days preparing to be a father for the first time. His wife, Ashley, could give birth to their first child, a boy, as early as this week.
"It could happen any day now, so it's a blessing that I'm able to stay home and enjoy the next four days at home before the season's second half starts," McCann said. "I'll be at the house not doing a lot."
McCann is the only player in Braves history to earn an All-Star selection in each of his first six full Major League seasons. His streak came to a close this year, as he struggled throughout much of the past three months. He entered Saturday hitting .231 with 11 home runs and a .702 OPS.
"I'm taking this as a positive, I really am," McCann said. "I feel like I need to get back to really understanding my swing and what I do. I truly believe I used to be really, really good at that. I've kind of fallen in a rut where I'll hit .270 with 20 [home runs], and that's what I've done the past few years. But I know I'm better than that, and I feel this is kind of a wake-up call."
McCann has been adjusting his swing since developing bad habits after returning too soon from a strained left oblique muscle late last July. The veteran catcher started feeling comfortable this week, and homered on Thursday and Friday.
"I'm in a spot now where I haven't been in a couple years as far as comfort," McCann said.
Hudson to start first Braves game after break
PHILADELPHIA -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez plans to send Tim Hudson and Tommy Hanson to the mound to start his team's first two games after the All-Star break. The makeup of the remainder of his rotation depends on how Ben Sheets feels after he makes his start for Double-A Mississippi on Monday.
If Sheets gets through the start without any problem and feels prepared to make his first Major League start in two years, the Braves will likely tab him to pitch in next Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Mets.
If it is determined Sheets needs at least one additional start at the Minor League level, Gonzalez said he will likely start either Mike Minor or Randall Delgado in that series finale against the Mets. This would allow him to split up the two inconsistent young pitchers, who have been starting back-to-back games over the past few weeks.
Regardless of what happens with Sheets, Jair Jurrjens appears likely to start the July 17 series opener against the Giants. Minor or Delgado would then start the following day. One of those two pitchers will be dropped from the rotation when Sheets is added.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.