Chicago — You couldn’t blame James McCann if he felt a little punch-drunk. He’s taken a beating the last couple of games.
He’s come through both in relatively good shape. He hit a long home run in his next at-bat on Thursday, and he held on to the ball Friday and denied Sanchez a steal of home.
Still, there is concern that he’s not entirely out of the woods. He’s also taken some foul balls off the mask in recent weeks, a couple of them staggered him momentarily. There haven’t been any symptoms of concussion, not after the beaning and not after the collision. But Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand is monitoring it daily.
“There is only one thing we are still watching,” McCann said. “I remember Alex (Avila, former Tigers catcher who battled concussions for nearly three seasons) saying he didn’t feel the effects until sometimes two, three or four days later.
“That’s something we are keeping an eye on.”
McCann, who was in the lineup Saturday, said he has not felt any symptoms — no headaches, dizziness or nausea.
He also said the collision at the plate Friday night was a clean baseball play.
“Yeah, one hundred percent,” he said. “He’s playing the game the right way. The ball took me up the line and as I caught it, I knew. I was far enough up the line to where he was going to have to start his slide or try to run me over.”
It was a well-executed play all the way around by the Tigers.
In a 2-2 game in the seventh inning, the White Sox had runners on first and third with two out. With one strike on the batter, the runner on first, Adam Engel, broke for second. McCann fired to second baseman Ian Kinsler, who was well in front of the base anticipating Sanchez trying to steal home — which he was.
Kinsler’s throw was in plenty of time but drew McCann into the base line. Sanchez hit McCann high and hard. McCann spun around but held on to the ball.
“Clean play; nothing dirty at all,” McCann said. “I knew there was a possibility of a collision. I know the rules have changed to where you expect a slide. But in all honesty, the way I was taught to make a play at the plate, you expect a collision every time and adjust to the slide.”
McCann has been one of the hottest hitters in the league since the All-Star break, hitting .330 with an .860 OPS, three home runs and 13 RBIs.