Astros returning to Houston with doubleheader vs. Mets on Saturday

The Houston Astros announced Wednesday that they are returning to Houston this weekend and will start a three-game series against the New York Mets on Saturday.

The series had been scheduled to begin Friday, but the teams will play a doubleheader Saturday at Minute Maid Park followed by the game that was regularly scheduled for Sunday.

"We hope that these games can serve as a welcome distraction for our city that is going through a very difficult time. We hope that we can put smiles on some faces," Astros president Reid Ryan said in a statement.

The Astros will return to Houston on Thursday night after their game against the Rangers.

Manager A.J. Hinch said that being able to tell his players they would return home soon was "some of the best news I could deliver."

He added: "Obviously, we're anxious to get home. We have a series to win, we have a couple of games, but to be able to go home tomorrow night and know we're going to be able to get to the majority of our houses, see our families, just really good news for us."

Hinch said he hopes the Astros can provide an escape for weary Houston residents.

"Our intention is still going to be centered around the city and all the devastation that's going on. If we can provide any sort of relief or any sort of escape, or any part of a distraction from what's going on, I think that's going to be part of it," he said. "I know it will be a warm welcome. Our fans who can make it to the ballpark will come and root us on. But it will be emotional because we get to go home. You never know what home means to you until you're not allowed to go home."

Ryan tweeted a picture of Minute Maid Park that showed the view from his office Wednesday.

"I think a lot of us are excited to get home, get back to our families and be with our loved ones. It's all we're thinking about, the lives that have been lost, the damage that has been done," catcherBrian McCannsaid.

The Astros had to relocate their series against the Texas Rangers this week to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, because of catastrophic flooding in the area from Hurricane Harvey.

"It's exciting to get chance to go home and hopefully rally the city around us," outfielderGeorge Springersaid. "We've been gone for this whole thing, and it's been hard to watch. We don't necessarily know what we're walking into, but we're coming back. I'm excited about it."

This week is the second time Houston has had games moved to a neutral location because of a hurricane. In the wake of Hurricane Ike in 2008, MLB moved two scheduled home games with the Chicago Cubs to Milwaukee, about 95 miles from Chicago, effectively making the contests home games for the Cubs. Chicago won both of those games, with Carlos Zambrano throwing a no-hitter in the first one.

The Astros lost the opener of their series against the Rangers 12-2 on Tuesday night in front of a crowd of just 3,485. They lost again Wednesday 8-1 in front of 6,123 fans.

ESPN's Bradford Doolittle and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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