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Braves Notebook: McCann awaits All-Star decision

POSTED: July 9, 2008 5:01 a.m.

ATLANTA Brian McCann has never enjoyed an All-Star break. He’d like to keep that streak intact.McCann has been an All-Star in each of his first two full seasons with the Atlanta Braves, and he’ll learn today if he makes the NL squad for the third straight year.

A three-day midseason break may sound nice to some players. Not McCann.

"I don’t want to know what it feels like," McCann said.

McCann said he’d cherish an All-Star experience at Yankee Stadium.

"It would be an honor to be a part of the last All-Star game at Yankee Stadium," McCann said. "Obviously, I hope it happens."

Braves third baseman Chipper Jones had a lead of more than 1 million votes over Chicago’s Aramis Ramirez when the last voting was announced. Jones seems assured to be named the starter on Sunday for the July 15 game.

McCann could join Jones on the NL squad, but the voting at catcher is close.

Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto had about 1.83 million votes, followed by McCann’s 1.15 million, in the last voting update. But Milwaukee’s Jason Kendall and Yadier Molina of St. Louis each also had more than 1 million votes, and Russell Martin could be the Dodgers’ most deserving candidate.

McCann said he hopes three catchers are selected.

"Someone is going to be left out if I should make it," McCann said.

"Geovany is a great guy. He’s doing great. He deserves (to start)."

McCann has hit .298 with 14 homers — the most of any catcher in the major leagues — and 47 RBIs in the first half after hitting .270 with 18 homers and 92 RBIs last season. He is tied for third in the NL with 25 doubles and is on pace to challenge his career-high totals of 24 homers and 93 RBIs in 2006, when he hit .333.

Braves rookie right-hander Jair Jurrjens (8-4, 3.09 ERA) and first baseman Mark Teixeira (.272, 16 homers, 63 RBIs) are long shots to make the team.

Gonzo goes back to back

Left-hander Mike Gonzalez said he had no difficulty pitching in back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday and said he was available if needed for a third straight game on Saturday night.

Gonzalez has appeared in six games, converting each of his two save opportunities, since returning from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. He has appeared in back-to-back games twice, but his first back-to-back appearances on June 25 and June 27 were separated by an off day for the team.

"The first time there was a little soreness," he said. "I’m going to be experiencing some regular soreness. That’s part of it."

Gonzalez said his perfect ninth inning in Friday night’s 6-2 win felt like his third straight day because he threw in the bullpen on Wednesday. But he said throwing in a third straight game "would be another steppingstone."

"Everything now is a new experience for me," Gonzalez said. "I haven’t thrown three (games) in a row since the surgery, but my arm feels great."

Francoeur update

Jeff Francoeur was 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI in his first game with Double-A Mississippi on Friday night. Francoeur was optioned to Mississippi on Friday after his batting average dropped to .234.

Matt Diaz was 0-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base in his first game with Mississippi Friday. Diaz is recovering from a knee injury and is on a rehab assignment.



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