Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brian McCann came to New York to bring win a World Series, but the Bronx might not be the place for him, at least according to his former hitting coach Terry Pendleton.

Pendleton, a former MVP with the Braves made it quite clear in an interview with the New York Post that McCann's slow start to the 2014 season wasn't a trend, but something more permanent.

“New York is not Brian. That’s my opinion. I knew if he chose New York, there would be more than he expected or knew about. He’ll never be comfortable with that," Pendleton told the New York Post.

"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. But he wants to win and when he looks at that, you’ve got to go to the Yankees.”

Pendleton's comments came out of left field and are puzzling considering the former Brave never played in New York, except as a visitor. McCann, as you would have expected, was asked about his former coaches comments. The new Yankee catcher seemed caught off guard and insulted by the assessment just three-and-a-half months into the five-year, $85 million contract he signed last winter.

"I really haven't noticed a big difference [between playing in New York and Atlanta],'' McCann told the assembled New York media prior to Tuesday's game in Cleveland. "It's still baseball. It's still you put a uniform on, you go out and put your best foot forward. That's what I'm doing. It just hasn't gone quite like I wish it would, but at the same time, we've got a whole half of baseball left. We're in a pennant race and those are the things that I'm focused on.''

On the surface, Pendelton's comments might have some validity given McCann's early struggles at the plate. The veteran catcher finished play Tuesday night with a .231/.288/.378/ slash line and a .666 OPS -- all which are well below McCann's career averages to go along with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs.

Despite McCann's struggles at the plate, he has thrown out 46.7 percent (21-45) of attempted base stealers, which is tied for third most in all of baseball with Cleveland's Yan Gomes.  He has also managed a makeshift rotation of starting pitchers that have included the likes of Vidal Nuno, Chase Whitley and David Phelps along Masahiro Tanaka and Hiroki Kuroda.

It's unclear what Pendelton's motives were for taking a blatant shot at the Yankees and playing in New York in general, given that he's never played for the Yankees or the Mets, but it will be something to keep an eye on. McCann appears to have the stomach to play in the Big Apple, where the media criticism can be intense, but each player is different. The only way to quiet the noise surrounding his play is to produce.

The Yankees are surely looking for more production in the second half of the season from their new catcher if they want to entertain any possibility of playing in the postseason this October. It is also important to remember this is year one of five and McCann is playing his first season in a new city and a new league after spending nine seasons in Atlanta.


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