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McCann coming off DL for series finale

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- Astros catcher Brian McCann will be activated from the disabled list and return to the lineup Thursday against the Nationals. McCann has been out since Aug. 14 with a pain in his right knee that was the result of inflammation and a buildup of fluid.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch put McCann through some throwing drills on Tuesday to watch how he moves, and he's been catching in the bullpen as well. He'll return to the lineup without needing a Minor League rehab assignment.

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HOUSTON -- Astros catcher Brian McCann will be activated from the disabled list and return to the lineup Thursday against the Nationals. McCann has been out since Aug. 14 with a pain in his right knee that was the result of inflammation and a buildup of fluid.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch put McCann through some throwing drills on Tuesday to watch how he moves, and he's been catching in the bullpen as well. He'll return to the lineup without needing a Minor League rehab assignment.

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"Just watching him move around, he's doing a ton better with the knee," Hinch said. "He's just generally shown that his body's ready."

McCann said he'd been dealing with sharp pain on the inside and behind the knee. He was in so much pain he had trouble going down stairs, which forced him to get the knee checked out. An MRI exam revealed no structural damage, but he had a cortisone shot.

"The shot really helped me out a lot," he said. "It calmed everything down. I'm looking forward to getting back and being a part of the team down the stretch."

McCann is hitting .232 with 13 homers and 48 RBIs in 75 games this year, but had been slumping badly prior to going on the disabled list. He was hitting .155 with three homers and six RBIs in 22 games prior to going on the DL. It's unclear how much, if any, the knee affected McCann's performance on the field, but he's confident the worst is behind him.

"Given my position, it's just going to be one of those things where I hope it doesn't get back to the point where it was, and I'm confident it won't," he said.

Hinch has tried to be careful of the 33-year-old's workload this year, which means not catching him three days in a row, if possible. With rosters set to expand in a week, it should be easy for Hinch to use McCann judiciously as the season winds down.

"We'll see how tomorrow goes to see about Friday and we'll have a day game and then a lot of off-days, almost every Monday in September," Hinch said. "It's a friendly schedule. We'll have a ton of catchers up here in September. It could be pretty easy on him, physically. We want him to catch."

Worth noting
Catcher Juan Centeno was optioned to Triple-A following Wednesday's game.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

Houston Astros, Brian McCann