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BRAVES NOTEBOOK: Atlanta now saying McCann may miss April; Braves’ Simmons pleasant surprise for Netherlands during WBC

Braves catcher Brian McCann batted just .230 last year, a career low due to his injury.

Braves catcher Brian McCann batted just .230 last year, a career low due to his injury.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann could be out through April as he continues to slowly recover from shoulder surgery.

After having surgery in mid-October, he was expected to be back by April 16 — exactly six months after the operation. However, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Saturday that McCann will not be able to start a minor league rehab assignment until at least that date, meaning he could miss the first month of the season.

McCann, 29, batted .230 last year with 20 home runs and 67 RBI in 439 at bats. He is a career .279 hitter in eight major league seasons, all with the Braves.

Gerald Laird will serve as the regular catcher in McCann’s absence.

SIMMONS SIZZLES: Andrelton Simmons led off the game with a walk and scored the Netherlands’ only run in a 4-1 loss to the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic semifinals at San Francisco on March 18. The Dutch team was the surprise of the event, and the 23-year-old native of Curacao was one of the reasons why. Simmons, who finished 0-for-3 against the Dominican, batted .333 with three doubles, two homers, six RBI and 10 runs in eight WBC games. The leadoff hitter’s homers came in the second round, when he batted .429.