Astros McCann Says Yanks Jeter Changed Entire Generation

Yankees Derek Jeter

Credit: ultimateyankees.com

By Rich Mancuso/Sports Editor

Brian McCann came to his former friendly surroundings at Yankee Stadium Friday night. The right field porch is a familiar and inviting target for the Houston Astros catcher — who hit 46 of his 69 home runs as a Yankee in the Bronx. Add one more as his three-run home run in the fourth inning opened the door leading Houston to a 5-1 win last night.

It was McCann’s sixth of the season as Houston continued their franchise best 36-game start, their fifth straight win and at 25-11 first place and best record in the majors. McCann is a veteran mixed in with the youngsters, a similar situation that the Yankees have done. Add their 22-year old shortstop, Carlos Correa who is off to another good start and 2015 National League Rookie of the Year.

But McCann is now a Houston Astro, traded after playing two years in pinstripes as the Yankees looked to get younger and hand the torch to Gary Sanchez behind the plate.  The trade paid dividends as both teams benefited from the deal and McCann was behind the plate handling righthander Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1), who tossed six innings on four hits and got the win.

“Good to get a win in a game like that,” said McCann who nailed a second pitch changeup off Yankees rookie Jordan Montgomery. Of course the ball went to the right field porch, so welcome home Brian McCann.

And on a weekend that includes Sunday ceremonies, the Yankees retiring uniform No.2, the captain Derek Jeter, McCann was happy the schedule worked out so he could be here.

“Feel fortunate I got to play with him,’ he said. “What he meant to the game, he changed the whole generation. My generation when I first came up, everyone wanted to be Derek Jeter. Same as Gehrig and Berra. He did everything perfect. His routine, what he brought to the field everyday, I played with some amazing players over the years. They all had a good routine and knew what they had to do.”

That sentiment was also echoed by Carlos Beltran. He was another ex-Yankee who spent time in pinstripes alongside Jeter.  Beltran was signed by the Astros during the offseason as the Yankees began the process of getting younger and more athletic.

Added McCann about his time playing with Jeter, “What I took away the most was his routine and what he did on a nightly basis. He is who he is. His career speaks for itself. Talk to everyone and they want to be Derek Jeter. I was fortunate to play with him and learn a lot.”

And that porch in right field is quite different in Houston. Said Houston manager A.J. Hinch, “McCann has done that before in this ballpark and he got a great pitch to hit.”

Yankee Stadium tends to grow on a hitter, as it did with Derek Jeter and all those great moments that will be revived and told Sunday afternoon.  For McCann, who had some bad moments with one of those high profiled and lucrative contracts, it was an overall great playing experience.

“Our situation worked out for both teams,” he said about the Yankees decision to go with Sanchez, in this case the younger player who fell short of AL rookie honors last season. “He’s going to be an all star for years to come. Gary is an amazing player. He is fun to watch and going to be great for a long time.”

His Astros team is winning a lot of ballgames. They pitch well and as a staff lead the AL in ERA at 3.35 and in strikeouts with 341. They also lead the league in hits and rank second in team batting and are third in runs scored.

A perfect weekend in the month of May with the top two teams in the league.  “It starts with good pitching and a good lineup and we have that,” McCann said.

And it is a perfect weekend for McCann. He gets to see the New York Yankee who changed a generation for players and, of course, for the fans.

Comment Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com Rich Mancuso

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