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Braves' McCann wins second Silver Slugger award

POSTED: November 17, 2008 5:00 a.m.

ATLANTA — Braves catcher Brian McCann won his second Silver Slugger Award in three years, honored Thursday as the top-hitting player at his position in the National League. But NL batting champ Chipper Jones was left off the team.

McCann, who also won the award in 2006, batted .301 with 23 homers and 87 RBIs.

"You don't play this game for awards, but it sure makes it nice to know you ended the season on a positive note and everyone noticed the numbers you put up," he said.

Jones won his first batting title with a .364 average, but David Wright got the nod at third base on the Silver Slugger team by putting up better power numbers.

The Mets slugger batted .302 with 33 homers and 124 RBIs. Jones, who was plagued by injuries and limited to 439 at-bats, had 22 homers and 75 RBIs.

"I saw David's numbers, and they're really impressive. Chipper's numbers are really impressive, too," McCann said. "It's hard to decide there. Both of them had career years."

McCann batted .333 with 24 homers and 93 RBIs in his first full season with the Braves, but various ailments sent his numbers downward in 2007, when he hit .270 with 18 homers and 92 RBIs.

Other than a concussion suffered in a home-plate collision, McCann stayed away from injuries this past season and, along with Jones, was one of the few bright spots on an Atlanta team that struggled to its worst record since 1990 and missed the playoffs for the third year in a row.

"After the 2006 season, I went home and I didn't know what I had just done," McCann said. "I don't think I'll ever hit .333 again. All the stars aligned just right and every bloop seemed to fall. I think I had a better grasp on hitting this year than I did in the past. The older I get, the more I understand my swing."

McCann has stepped up his workout program during the offseason, hoping to knock off a few pounds, get a little stronger and make himself even less prone to injuries next season.

"I'm incorporating more running and less eating," he joked.

On another subject, McCann said he's keeping close tabs on the Braves' efforts to land San Diego ace Jake Peevy. With Tim Hudson, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine all coming off surgeries, Atlanta is eager to pick up a top-line starter and reportedly is one of the leader contenders for Peavy, who went 10-11 with a 2.85 ERA for the Padres.

"I hope we get him," McCann said. "I think he's one of the best pitchers in the game right now. He's young. He brings that passion to the game every team wants. You want a guy like him on the mound for Game 7 of the World Series."



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