NEW YORK -- Encouraged by the way he has felt while taking swings and playing long toss this weekend, catcher Brian McCann is itching to return to the Braves' lineup soon after he is eligible to be activated from the disabled list Thursday.

But the club is going to be cautious with its six-time All-Star catcher, who has been sidelined since July 25 with a strained left oblique muscle.

"I'd hate to push him and then we have a setback and then we're right back to square one," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We don't need that."

McCann took batting practice in the indoor batting cage at Citi Field on Saturday and threw without discomfort in the outfield before Sunday's game. The Braves will have a better idea about when he might return after he takes batting practice outdoors during this week's series against the Marlins in Miami.

Once they feel McCann is no longer bothered by the oblique muscle, the Braves will send him on a rehab assignment that could consist of three games. They do not want him to rush back like Chipper Jones and Jason Heyward did after the short Minor League rehab assignments they experienced this year.

Hanson not saying if shoulder is ailing him

NEW YORK -- The Braves are not planning to have Tommy Hanson skip his next scheduled start Friday night against the Cubs. But if he tells them his right shoulder is ailing again, they do have the option of at least giving him a few extra days of rest.

After allowing four home runs and seven runs in just 3 1/3 innings against the Mets on Saturday night, Hanson did not admit his right shoulder is bothering him like it was when he was placed on the disabled list in June. But the 24-year-old right-hander also did not deny that he is once again feeling discomfort.

"I really don't want to talk about it, to be honest with you," said Hanson, who has posted an 8.10 ERA and allowed opponents to hit .313 in his five starts since the All-Star break.

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said Hanson has not told him nor any members of the medical staff that his shoulder is bothering him. But Gonzalez said he was planning to talk to the hurler, who posted a 2.44 ERA and limited opponents to a .190 batting average in 17 starts before the All-Star break.

"[The shoulder] has never been brought up since the last time we shut him down," Gonzalez said. "But I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't ask him to be honest if there is something bothering him."

With a scheduled off-day Thursday, Hanson is already scheduled to get one extra day of rest. If the Braves simply skipped his turn Friday, he could return to the mound Aug. 16 with five extra days of rest.

Moylan eyeing return by end of August

NEW YORK -- Reliever Peter Moylan took another step in his rehab process when he threw 60 pitches with a tempered effort level Sunday morning at Citi Field.

Having thrown five bullpen sessions over the past week, the Braves' right-hander is even more anxious to return to the bullpen by the end of this month.

"The way I'm throwing right now, I feel like I could get guys out," Moylan said. "But obviously there is a process we have to run through because it's not like I just had my left finger operated on. I know it's a process and a journey, but the end is nigh."

Moylan has been experiencing a long rehab process since undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured disc in his back in May. This was the third time he has undergone this surgical process. But the previous two surgeries came while he was selling insurance and playing baseball for an club team in his native Australia.

Once Moylan builds up his endurance and proves his back is physically sound, he will likely need to make at least four rehab appearances before the club puts him back in the bullpen.

Worth noting

• After returning to the Braves' lineup Saturday night, Chipper Jones used his planned day off Sunday to deal with the normal soreness he was feeling. The veteran third baseman did not have any problems with his surgically repaired right knee or previously strained right quadriceps muscle.

• Highly regarded prospect Randall Delgado allowed three hits over six scoreless innings while making his debut with Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday night.