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Brian McCann praises Gomez and Fernandez

AP - Sports

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Given five months to reflect, Brian McCann isn't positive he would confront an opponent again the way he went after Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez last year.

The New York Yankees' new All-Star catcher reported Friday ahead of spring training workouts and was asked about the Sept. 25 confrontation in Atlanta.

Angry Paul Maholm hit him with a pitch in June, Gomez shouted at the pitcher as he slowly rounded the bases following a home run. McCann stood in the third base line about 20 feet from the plate and blocked Gomez, and benches emptied.

''I'm not sure,'' McCann said when asked whether he would do it again. ''My instincts took over. I had a baby two days before. I got no sleep. Wasn't in the mood.''

McCann, who left the Braves for an $85 million, five-year deal with New York, defended his response to the slow trot but praised Gomez.

''It was something I felt like I needed to do. I didn't like it. But I think he's an amazing player,'' he said. ''I think he's a great person. I mean all of that stuff. He plays the game extremely hard. I'm a huge fan of Gomez, for sure.''

McCann also got into a spat on Sept. 11 with Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez, the NL Rookie of the Year.

Fernandez grinned at the Braves' Evan Gattis after allowing his homer, then stood at the plate in the bottom of the inning admiring his first major league homer and spat toward the Braves' Chris Johnson while rounding third base.

McCann scolded Fernandez when the pitcher crossed the plate, leading to benches and bullpens clearing. Fernandez apologized after the game for his behavior.

''You scream, I'll scream back. There's no code,'' McCann said. ''He was the best pitcher I faced last year. He's going to be great for a lot of years to come. I've got respect for him. I enjoy the way he pitches. His stuff is incredible.''

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