Altuve gaining respect with early performance

Altuve gaining respect with early performance

HOUSTON -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve entered play Monday ranked third in the National League in batting average at .373, trailing only Matt Kemp of the Dodgers (.425) and David Wright of the Mets (.397). For Altuve, seeing his name mentioned among the league's best is an honor.

"It means a lot because those two guys in front of me, they're superstars," he said. "I used to watch those guys on TV and now I'm competing with them in hitting, and I think it's something really good."

Astros manager Brad Mills said he's not surprised at Altuve's output.

"We've always felt he's mature beyond his years and that probably comes from playing so much ball in Venezuela," he said. "You're in a situation you're seeing him make adjustments from at-bat to at-bat and pitcher to pitcher as relievers come into the game, and that's been really impressive."

J.D. Martinez, who came up with Altuve through the Minor Leagues and made the jump with him to the Majors from Double-A last year, says the 5-foot-5 Altuve is gaining respect.

"It's funny because I'll be in the on-deck circle and you'll hear guys chirping in the background and giving him a hard time and then he gets a hit and I'll start laughing," he said. "It's fun to watch."