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McCann makes first professional start at first base

McCann makes first professional start at first base

ST. LOUIS -- Brian McCann wasn't sure what to expect. He borrowed a first baseman's glove from Kelly Johnson's locker and sought tips from teammate Mark Teixeira.

The rest was to be determined.

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On Wednesday, for the first time in his professional career, McCann was slotted into a lineup at first base. The 30-year-old veteran saw time at first base three times this season as a late-game replacement, otherwise he never played there. At least not since high school.

"I kind of know how to work around the bag, so that's not going to be a problem," McCann said. "It's just fielding ground balls and hopefully making a pick or two. We'll see what happens."

McCann has taken a few grounders at first this season. In four innings manning the position, he made three putouts and avoided making any mistakes.

But with Teixeira sitting for a third straight day resting his stiff right wrist and third baseman Yangervis Solarte getting the night off, first base opened up, as Johnson shifted to third.

McCann told manager Joe Girardi that he would be open to giving it a try if needed.

"Whatever's going to help the team," McCann said, "that's what I want to do."

Girardi had been hesitant, but after seeing McCann spend some time at first, including during the eighth inning on Tuesday, and with limited options, he was comfortable enough with writing his name in Wednesday's lineup.

"There are a lot of things you don't plan on doing during the course of the season that kind of go awry when some things happen," Girardi said. "I never planned on playing [outfielder] Vernon Wells at third base last year. Never in my wildest dreams, but it happened. That's [what] you have to be, sometimes, a little creative."

His advice for McCann?

"I told him he can take his shinguards if he wants," Girardi said.

Long-term, Girardi has no intention of continually using McCann at first base, but he may have another option in his seven-time All-Star catcher if needed.

"I wouldn't make too much of this today," Girardi said. "I'm not looking at this as being an option going forward right now. I still consider him my everyday catcher. I'm not really thinking much past today, it's just one day I chose to do it."

Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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