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 went 1-for-2 with a solo home run in Tuesday's game against the Mets. The homer was McCann's first of the spring. At 33, he still wields a power bat. He's surpassed the 20-homer threshold each of the last nine seasons. McCann will get the bulk of the starts at catcher with Evan Gattis backing him up, but you can bet manager A.J. Hinch will rotate him through designated hitter to keep him fresh from April to October.
McCann (illness) will occupy the DH spot and bat sixth in the lineup in Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Marlins, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. McCann first came down with a case of the stomach flu Wednesday and was held out of action for the last few days, but his return to the lineup suggests he's fully recovered from the illness. Look for him to resume duties behind the plate at some point next week, but for Sunday's game, Max Stassi will serve as the battery mate for starting pitcher Mike Fiers.
McCann (stomach ailment) was feeling better and increased his activity Thursday, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. McCann was scratched from a game Wednesday and may not play "maybe for the next day or two," according to Houston manager A.J. Hinch. He's been replaced in the lineup by Max Stassi and Juan Centeno the last two days, but if it were in the regular season, Evan Gattis would be his fill-in.
McCann was scratched from Wednesday's Grapefruit League game with a stomach ailment, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. Max Stassi will get the start behind the plate instead. It's likely nothing too serious for McCann, who should be back in action within a couple days. The veteran catcher was traded to Houston this offseason after spending the last three seasons with the Yankees.
McCann caught Dallas Keuchel's first bullpen session of spring training Friday. The Astros are hoping Keuchel and McCann are the battery come Opening Day, so it was encouraging to hear Keuchel talking about a comfort level with Houston's new catcher. McCann's been around and understands what it takes for a catcher to become acquainted with a bunch of new starters. The 12-year veteran has caught 1,372 games since his debut in 2005, so he's learned some about the catcher-pitcher relationship. He also brings a power bat to the position, having averaged 20 homers, 74 RBI and a .799 OPS. McCann will serve as Houston's primary catcher this season with Evan Gattis his backup.