It took until the final day of the season to do it, but with a home run in his last game of 2016, Brian McCann extended an impressive streak: reaching the 20-homer plateau in nine consecutive seasons. Though his batting average was also up 10 points to .242, the 32-year-old struck out on a career-high 20.1 percent of his at-bats and posted a .748 OPS -- well down from his career average. Further, the second-half emergence of top prospect Gary Sanchez effectively pushed McCann into a full-time DH role and led the Yankees to send McCann to the Astros during the offseason, where he will work in tandem with Evan Gattis. Carlos Beltran will likely occupy the DH spot most days, leaving McCann to push for playing time at first base on days when Gattis is behind the plate, but it would hardly be a surprise to see McCann's playing time volume fall from the 520-plus plate appearances he's averaged over the past three seasons.
McCann was traded to the Astros on Thursday. In return for McCann, the Yankees will receive Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman from Houston. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that McCann will share time with Evan Gattis behind the plate in 2017, but is still expected to start more than 100 games for his new club. In the 2016 campaign, McCann posted a .242/.335/.413 line over 130 games and enjoyed his ninth consecutive season with over 20 home runs.
McCann went 2-for-4 with a solo shot, his 20th home run of the season, in Sunday's loss to the Orioles. He played DH on Sunday, a position that will likely be his regular home in 2017 if he stay with the Yankees given the emergence of Gary Sanchez. McCann's .242 batting average on the season is actually his highest in three years, and he's only topped .250 once in the last five seasons, but he still reached the 20 home run plateau for a remarkable ninth straight campaign.
McCann went 4-for-5 with a run and an RBI in the Yankees 14-4 win over the Rays. It was McCann's first four-hit game of the season and raised his batting average to .241. McCann has been solid of late, hitting .283/.340/.522 in September. He remains one shy of his ninth straight 20-homer season, a feat only David Ortiz has accomplished over that stretch.
McCann is out of the lineup Wednesday against the Dodgers. This is standard procedure with a lefty (Clayton Kershaw) on the mound for the opposition. Austin Romine will get the start at DH and hit eighth Wednesday.
McCann is not in the lineup against the Rays on Friday, Erik Boland of Newsday reports. McCann smoked two home runs Thursday -- his 18th and 19th of the season -- as part of a three-hit showing, but manager Joe Girardi will try to stack as many righties into the lineup as he can Friday against lefty Blake Snell. In his place, Gary Sanchez will slot back in as the catcher while Tyler Austin will take a turn as the club's DH.