McCann’s return gives Astros a boost vs. Rangers

Houston added another offensive weapon to its considerable arsenal on Friday when it reinstated Brian McCann from the 10-day disabled list and reinserted the veteran catcher into its lineup for the second game of a four-game weekend series against Lone Star State and American League West rival Texas.

McCann responded with 1-for-4 performance at the plate while handling ace pitcher Justin Verlander in the Astros’ 7-3 win over the Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. In the process, he helped Houston take the first two games of the series.

McCann had been out since May 29 with right knee soreness.

“You never want to go on the DL, but I was at the point where I needed to get it fixed, and I feel like I’m ready to go,” McCann said.

Astros manager AJ Hinch told mlb.com on Friday that he will ease McCann back into a regular routine. He said backup catcher Max Stassi will continue to catch semi-regularly.

Hinch said Stassi will catch Saturday when the Astros face Rangers left-hander Mike Minor. Entering Friday’s game, Stassi was hitting .381 (16-for-42) against left-handed pitchers.

The Astros will send right-hander Charlie Morton (7-1, 2.84 ERA) to the mound on Saturday to oppose Minor (4-4, 5.76)

On Thursday, the Rangers signed general manager Jon Daniels to a contract extension. Manager Jeff Banister is already signed through the 2019 season and said Texas is in a long-term rebuilding process. He’s on board with the plans, even as the Rangers slipped 12 games below .500 with the loss to Houston on Friday.

“There’s always patience,” Banister said. “We talk about this all the time — everybody has their own urgency, if you will, on things. Yet when you’re on the inside and part of the process, you understand that there is a day-to-day patient attitude, but yet there’s urgency in how you do the work.

“Every player has their own rate of success, of development. That’s the thing where you have to show great patience and how that process takes fold.”

The Rangers were hit with the potential loss of one of their starting pitchers on Friday when right-hander Doug Fister left the game with right knee soreness after throwing one pitch in the sixth inning. He will be evaluated Saturday.

Fister has already spent time on the disabled list this season with a right groin strain that forced him to miss 13 games starting April 10.

Morton is coming off his first loss of the season after allowing six runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Red Sox on Sunday. He has had 92 strikeouts in 73 innings and nine quality starts in 12 outings this year.

Morton is 2-1 with a 3.03 ERA in five career appearances, all starts, against the Rangers. On May 12 against Texas, he allowed one run in seven innings and posted a career-high 14 strikeouts en route to the victory.

Minor allowed five runs (four earned) in five innings in a 6-1 loss to the Mariners on May 31 and is 1-3 with a 7.52 ERA in his past five starts. He’s 3-2 with a 4.11 ERA in six starts at home.

Minor will make his 12th start of the season. His four wins are tied for the team lead and lead the Texas starters. His 52 strikeouts rank second on the staff.

In his career, Minor is 1-2 with a 5.17 ERA against the Astros. He will be facing Houston for the third time this season (0-1, 6.52).

Minor will make his first start in June, pitching on nine days’ rest as he has been given extra rest between most starts this season in an attempt to limit his workload in his first season as a starting pitcher since 2014.