HOUSTON -- After saying this spring his goal was to play in 162 games this year, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was unhappy with being out of the lineup in Wednesday's 5-1 victory over the D-backs. Altuve felt discomfort in his left oblique swinging at a 61-mph curveball Tuesday and was out of the lineup for the first time this season as a result.
"They asked me if I could play and I said, 'Yes,'" said Altuve, who leads the Major Leagues with 88 hits and the American League with 24 steals and 279 at-bats. "I don't think it's something to take a day off, but if they want to keep me on the bench, I'm going to be ready to come in the game whenever they want."
Astros manager Bo Porter always likes to play it safe with any kind of injury, and that is certainly the case with his best hitter.
"Altuve obviously wants to play, but at the same time you have to protect them from themselves," Porter said. "We feel like if he gets treatment today and tomorrow, he should be fine and ready to go. This is not something we want to linger and become a problem where he could miss two or three weeks trying to recover from."
Altuve said that he was going to try to get Porter to change the lineup.
"Whenever his baseball career is over, he's got a chance to be an attorney because he tried to plead his best cast to get himself in the lineup," Porter said. "Jose Altuve is arguably one of the best players in our game. He's not someone you can replace, but at the same time it's the next guy up. Marwin [Gonzalez] is going to play second base today, and the guys we run out there we believe they're going to give us an opportunity to win the game."
Porter was asked if he would even stay away from Altuve in a pinch-hit situation.
"I wouldn't go that far, because if the big guy is standing on deck over there it makes the other team think twice," he said.
Brian McTaggart is 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.