ANAHEIM -- Astros shortstop Jonathan Villar remains hampered by a sprained left thumb he incurred trying to steal third base Aug. 6 against the Red Sox in Houston. Manager Bo Porter said Villar jammed the finger during one of his at-bats Saturday.
The thumb bothers Villar enough the Astros don't want him to swing the bat right-handed, which meant he was on the bench Sunday when Houston faced Angels left-hander Jason Vargas. Marwin Gonzalez made his first start at shortstop since being recalled Wednesday.
"We're going to go ahead and take the precaution," Porter said.
Meanwhile, second baseman Jose Altuve started at designated hitter. He's not quite over the soreness in his left quadriceps muscle, so Jake Elmore started at second base Sunday. The Astros are off Thursday and can give Altuve another day of rest.
"He's been doing much better and [we] want to continue to monitor him," 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.