Altuve lands role as Astros' leading man

Altuve lands role as Astros' leading man

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- In addition to announcing the first three pitchers in the rotation on Wednesday, manager Bo Porter revealed his leadoff hitter: All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve.

Altuve, who hit .290 with seven homers, 37 RBIs and 33 stolen bases last year in his first full season in the Major Leagues, will be the top-of-the-order hitter heading into the season. He hit leadoff in 84 games last year, more than any other member of the Astros.

"I said early on in the spring that if we had a guy that actually took hold of that leadoff spot, it would have been a good scenario for Altuve to hit second, but as we stand here today, we don't have someone that has taken the bull by the horns in that leadoff spot," Porter said. "So it makes the most sense to have arguably one of our best hitters, who's going to get a bunch of hits and get on base a lot, to get an extra at-bats hitting at the top of the lineup."

Altuve hit .281 with five homers, 15 RBIs and 42 runs scored as a leadoff hitter last year while batting .318 with one homer, 18 RBIs and 33 runs scored from the No. 2 spot. Jordan Schafer began last season as the leadoff hitter before eventually giving way to Altuve later in the season.

"I feel really good in both spots I've been hitting -- leadoff and second," Altuve said. "I like to get on base and score some runs, and I think the guys behind me are going to do the heavy work. I just have to get on base."

Brian McTaggart is reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.