Going to watch James McCann/Tigers tonight

I’m in Kansas City for a quick up and and back trip to watch James McCann and the Detroit Tigers play the KC Royals tonight. James has platooned with Alex Avila since an early hand injury. James plays against lefties. Avila against righthanders. Tonight the Royals are facing Travis Wood, a lefty. So that should mean James is is in the lineup.

Got to visit with James in KC before the game. He showed me his injured hand that kept him out for close to one month. He’s got a nasty L-shaped scar in the meat part of the palm. He wasn’t at full strength for much of the first half of the season. He looked great Tuesday night. He had two hits, drove one to the base of the center wall (a long way in Kaufman) and lined out to the line in left that was a diving catch by the outfielder.

McCann said the hand was injured first on the last day of spring training. He was struck by a pitch and it left a big blood blister under the skin. About one month later he was hit again in the same spot. The hand ruptured and split open. He saw blood pouring out of his batting glove when he got to first base. He pulled off the glove and saw the wound gaping open. He asked the trainer to just tape it shut. They pulled him and said it was going to have to have extensive stitching. That’s no fun at all. He said the meat deep in his palm was exposed. All you had to do was look at the scar to know how deep the wound was in the palm. Kinda hard to hold a bat for a bit.

James had a terrific spring training and was poised for a big year. He is coming out of it. He’s raised his BA about 20 points in the last couple of weeks.

But the tough part is that Alex Avila, the veteran catcher back with the Tigers, is tearing it up, batting .300. So the Tigers are platooning their catchers. Avila starts against righthanders, McCann again lefties. There are more righthanded starters in the major leagues than lefties.

James looks good and sounds good. I expect him to have a good finish to the season. The tough part, this is his arbitration year. I was hoping this would be a big season for him and a big new contract. He’ll be paid well in the bigs cause he’s a terrific defensive catcher. But he needs to hit a little more and he knows it.