Altuve piggybacks day off with off-day

Altuve piggybacks day off with off-day

HOUSTON -- There was something drastically different about the Astros' starting lineup on Sunday, something we hadn't seen at any point this season: Second baseman Jose Altuve wasn't in it.

Astros manager Bo Porter kept the All-Star out of the lineup for the first time this season after he had started the team's first 31 games, 30 at second base and one at designated hitter. Marwin Gonzalez started at second base against Detroit.

"I talked to Altuve before the game ended [Saturday] night and told him he was going to take the day off," Porter said. "He's played every day, played an All-Star second base. We've had a lot of long innings and he's been on his feet a lot. I saw this as an opportunity where an off-day today, off-day tomorrow would give him a chance to get his legs underneath him."

Altuve entered Sunday ranked tied for second in the Majors in hits (43) and tied for eighth in multihit games. His 130 at-bats were third only to Baltimore's Manny Machado (132) and Boston's Jacob Ellsbury (131).

"It's the manager's decision," Altuve said. "He told me yesterday, 'I'm going to give you a day off to take two days in a row and come back strong.' I'm going to be ready anyway in case I have to pinch-run, pinch-hit or whatever. I'll be ready."

Meanwhile, third baseman Matt Dominguez was out of the lineup for only the third time in 31 games. He had started 12 consecutive games prior to Sunday.

"He's played almost every day since he got hit in the elbow [last month] and had to miss a game," Porter said.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com 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.