Brian McCann was born and raised in Georgia. He was then drafted by the Atlanta Braves and became an All-Star catcher for his hometown club. He gave that up this past winter, however, to join the New York Yankees, and that’s been a regrettable decision so far.
That is, of course, if you discount the $85 million contract he signed with the Bronx Bombers.
McCann’s salary has been the only impressive thing about his first season in New York. The 30-year-old is hitting just .230 with a .668 OPS — both of which would be career lows. His power numbers, despite hitting in homer-happy Yankee Stadium, aren’t great, either. He has just 10 home runs and 38 RBIs so far with a week to play before the All-Star break.
Terry Pendleton, McCann’s former hitting coach in Atlanta, thinks New York might be taking its toll on the Georgia boy.
“New York is not Brian,” Pendleton told the New York Post. “That’s my opinion. I knew if he chose New York, there would be more than he expected or knew about it. He’ll never be comfortable with that.”
Pendleton did acknowledge that McCann sought out an opportunity to win (and get paid), and the Yankees offered him a good chance to do so.
“If I had to choose where he went, nothing against the Yankees, they’re one of the best organizations around, but I think he’d be more comfortable in Texas,” Pendleton continued. “But he wants to win and when he looks at that, you’ve got to go to the Yankees.”
Pendleton believes the pressure of the contract and increased shifts might be playing a role as McCann tries to put an absolutely brutal June behind him. McCann hit just .198 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 25 games. He’s been better since July began — he’s 7-for-18 in his last four games — and Pendleton still believes McCann can get on the right track.
“I think he will become accustomed to it,” Pendleton told the paper. “He has to relax and do what he’s capable of doing. He said he’s not a .220 hitter and he’s right. He’s definitely better than he’s shown. He just has to settle down.”
Whether that’s something he actually can do in New York, though, is yet to be seen.
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