All-Star second baseman starts at DH in finale vs. Texas as precaution
By Dave Sessions
Special to MLB.com |
ARLINGTON -- After Jose Altuve limped down the line running out his game-ending grounder Saturday, Astros manager A.J. Hinch moved the everyday second baseman to designated hitter as a precaution Sunday.
Hinch said he does not believe Altuve's right calf injury is serious enough to keep him off the field going forward. Altuve has played in 135 of Houston's 136 games this season, playing second base in 126 games, including 18 in a row entering Sunday's game against the Rangers.
"He had a cramp in his calf … We tested him out, he's emphatic that he can go today and feel really good about it," Hinch said. "Never a day I want to have him out of the lineup, I think the DH will be good for him to at least give him a half a day off his feet and prepare for his at-bats."
Altuve, who went 0-for-3 with two walks and an RBI in Houston's 7-6 win over Texas, leads the Majors with a .346 average and 185 hits, but he hasn't had a multihit game since Aug. 20 and hit just .148 in the next 13 games, including Sunday.
"I'm seeing a little anxiousness," Hinch said. "As you get towards this time of year, guys always want to carry the team and he knows he's a central figure of our offense. So he gets a little bit anxious at the plate, I see him a little bit more pull-conscious than when he's at his best.
"Having carried our team for much of the season, I don't want him to feel like he has to do too much … he's a part of our offense, he doesn't have to be our entire offense."
• Infielder Marwin Gonzalez's right hamstring injury is improving, according to Hinch, who added that Gonzalez would be available as a defensive replacement or a left-handed pinch-hitter on Sunday. Gonzalez has been out since leaving Wednesday's game after the fifth inning.
• Lefty Dallas Keuchel is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Indians after the Astros decided to let him have a few days' extra rest to deal with arm fatigue. Keuchel was scheduled to start Friday before he was pushed back, and the Astros aren't certain yet whether he'll pitch Tuesday, Hinch said.
"He's been resting until today," Hinch said Sunday. "He played catch today. The big determination will be how he feels tomorrow. The first couple days of rest and rehab and some of the activities behind the scenes, the arm exercises, the massages, all the treatments that you get behind the scenes, has been the focus of the last 48 hours. With him playing catch today, we'll have a determination on how he feels and how it looks for Tuesday."
• The Astros will donate the net proceeds from their Sept. 12 Share2Care 50/50 Raffle to the American Red Cross to assist victims of the recent catastrophic flooding in Louisiana. The Rangers donated their raffle proceeds from Sunday's game, and players from both teams have been active in recovery efforts, with Houston's Alex Bregman and Will Harris and Texas' Jonathan Lucroy all participating in raising funds and awareness.
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.