Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told MLB.com and the Houston Chronicle during a 5-3 win at Texas that the team was optimistic that the surgery would resolve the issue that kept recurring. While not specific about the procedure or a timetable, the GM said he’d expect McCann back in September to get ready for October.
Manager A.J. Hinch said before the Astros’ 5-3 win at Texas that he and McCann had a long conversation about the knee problems when the team played in Tampa last weekend.
”It’s just continually the same issue over and over with his right knee,” Hinch said. ”One of the options is surgery, and he went back to Houston to take care of it.”
Catcher Tim Federowicz, who made two starts earlier this season when McCann was on the DL, was promoted from Triple-A Fresno.
Max Stassi was the Astros’ starting catcher Tuesday night against the Rangers. Hinch said Stassi would get the bulk of the catching during McCann’s absence.
But Stassi never got behind the plate against the Rangers. He was hit by a pitch on his right (throwing) wrist while batting in the first inning. He stayed in the game to run, but Federowicz went to catch when the Astros took the field.
X-rays were negative, but Stassi has a bruised wrist and was considered day to day.
”He’s been reporting to Minute Maid (Park) every day and working with our people there,” Hinch said. ”The good news is that everything has been a step forward. The uncertainty is still we haven’t done any baseball activities yet, so we don’t know how that’s going to impact his timeline until we get home.”
McCann missed nine games during his first DL stint this season before being activated June 8, the last time Houston played at the Rangers.
He was also on the DL for 11 days last August because of right knee soreness before the Astros went on to win their first World Series title. McCann played in all seven World Series games.
His latest DL move was retroactive to Monday, a day off for Houston.
McCann has hit .206 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 50 games this season. He was in a 1-for-26 slump before going on the DL for the first time this season on May 29. He hit .171 (7-of-41) with one homer and three RBIs in his 13 games in June after returning from the DL.
Stassi has hit .255 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 49 games for the Astros. Federowicz hit .328 with six homers and 22 RBIs in 38 games at Fresno.
”I have a lot of confidence in Stassi and Fed, both with major league time,” Hinch said. ”They’re comfortable, they know our pitchers, they know our program, our preparation, all things that make me feel really good about going into each particular game.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback handled it as well as he did Buffalo’s pass rush.
”It’ll probably never stop,” Bortles said Wednesday. ”There’s people that think LeBron James sucks, so if that happens, I’m sure there will be a lot of people that always think I suck.”
The latest insults came from Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard and retired NFL quarterback Chris Simms.
Byard told the Tennessean this week he wants to make New England’s Tom Brady looks like Bortles. Byard intercepted two of Bortles’ passes in the regular-season finale in Nashville.
”This is a playoff game, so I don’t really care if it was Joe Montana,” Byard said. ”You know what I’m saying? I’m trying to go out there and win the game. I want to make him look like Blake Bortles if I can and try to catch a couple picks. Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but it’s a playoff game.”
Simms told The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on Tuesday that Bortles is 70th in his NFL quarterback rankings, below backups Chad Henne (Jacksonville), T.J. Yates (Houston) and Nathan Peterman (Buffalo).
Former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli called into the show to defend Bortles, saying it’s ”the most ignorant, asinine statement I’ve ever heard.”
Titans defensive end Jurrell Casey told a Nashville radio station last week that ”as long as Bortles is back there, if the ballgame is in his hands, he’s going to choke.”
Bortles also has been publicly ripped by Houston defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Seattle safety Earl Thomas and Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict in the past two months.
”Players or peers talking about you is a little new,” Bortles said last week.
Bortles’ performance against the Bills was far from his best.
He completed 12 of 23 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown. He never settled into a rhythm, and with the game tied in the second half, he stopped throwing and starting scrambling. He finished with 88 yards on the ground, becoming the first quarterback since Atlanta’s Michael Vick in 2004 to win a playoff game with more rushing yards than passing.
”There’s two different ways to look at it,” Bortles said. ”You kind of look at the numbers and look at the game and say, `You played terrible.’ Or you look at it and say, `Things weren’t going right here and you found a way to win and be efficient and move the ball and do different things.’ I think that’s how I feel about it. We didn’t have our A-game. I missed a couple throws. Things weren’t going well.
”But you know scrambling around and doing some different things Justin Abdelkader Jersey , and guys making some plays, we found a way to score one more time than they did. That’s all you’ve got to do.”
The Jaguars (11-6) won the wild-card game 10-3, with the lone touchdown coming on Bortles’ 1-yard pass on a fourth-and-goal play, and advanced to play at second-seeded Pittsburgh (13-3) on Sunday.
Jacksonville beat the Steelers 30-9 in Pittsburgh earlier this season. Bortles threw just one pass in the second half as the Jags dominated thanks to five interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, and a season-high 231 yards rushing.
Bortles completed 8 of 14 passes for 95 yards, with an interception.
”Hopefully we can throw less,” Bortles said. ”That would be awesome. Leonard goes off again and those guys up front play as well they did last time and we can run the ball up there and not have to throw at all. That was something that happened last time, but you never know. … It could be another one of those games or it could be you go up there and throw it 50 times.”