The Astros expect Jose Altuve to play again this season, but he may do so with knee discomfort.
With the way that the Astros have played recently, they need their MVP back in the lineup. They are 6-10 without Jose Altuve, including last night’s loss. They had some great stars in the lineup last year, but they won the World Series behind Altuve’s leadership. Now, their depth is being challenged with Altuve and George Springer on the DL. When will the two be able to rejoin the team and play?
Before Sunday’s game, Jeff Luhnow joined Astros Radio with Robert Ford and Steve Sparks. One of the topics that they discussed was about the health of Springer and Altuve. Luhnow hinted that Springer was closer to returning, as he could return on the road this weekend. Altuve’s return is a little more cloudy. Hinch echoed this in a pregame interview saying that he can possibly return Friday.
Luhnow said that Altuve would play the rest of the season with discomfort. There is the word that Astros fans have learned to hate. Typically, this means it’s a minor injury, but the Astros have screamed discomfort too much. We really don’t know what’s wrong with Altuve, outside of the knee discomfort. This could also explain why we haven’t seen Altuve stealing as much this year.
This could be something that requires surgery in the offseason, but they could be hoping that resting him will help. Despite the recent struggles, the team needs Altuve in the playoffs. Altuve has been on the DL since July 25th. He has missed 16 games so far, and the Athletics are getting closer in the rearview mirror. Any news about him is good news.
According to Jake Kaplan, ”Jose Altuve progressed to running yesterday on a treadmill.” Kaplan added that ”A.J. Hinch said Altuve might try to hit in the cage today or tomorrow, as well.” If Altuve can progress like the team wants, we can see him begin his rehab. While Altuve is in the clubhouse and dugout, they need him in the lineup.
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Altuve was once leading the big leagues in hits with 134, but almost a dozen players have passed him. With time dwindling down, we could also see him snap his four-year streak of getting 200+ hits. With Jose Ramirez and J.D. Martinez having career seasons, there is little chance that Altuve repeats as the MVP. Altuve has a healthy slash line of .329/ .392/ .464/ .856 with nine homers and 41 RBI. All stats from ESPN.com.
As the Athletics and Mariners try to steal the AL West, we still wait to see what the next step is for Altuve. When he returns, we could see him play DH more often to not put too much stress on his knee. Marwin Gonzalez and Yuli Gurriel could play second base as Altuve serves as the DH. Gonzalez is the better option, but it depends on the production from their left fielders.
This team is built to win in October when healthy, which has not been the case recently. With 20 home games remaining, the Astros need to rediscover their ability to win at home. The offense needs to be more consistent, but it would help to have Altuve back in the lineup. You just hope the discomfort doesn’t affect his play or cause him to miss much more time.