ROUND ROCK EXPRESS

Astros star Jose Altuve feeling good after rehab stint with Express

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Jose Altuve showed no signs of stopping as he rounded second and headed for third Monday night in Round Rock. 

Rehabbing a strained left hamstring and a sore right knee that has kept him out of the Astros lineup for more than half the season, the 2017 American League MVP finished with a pair of hits in 12 at-bats over three games in his first appearance at Dell Dimond. 

“It feels pretty good and its as exciting to go back on the field and take a couple of at-bats and feel better every day,” Altuve said. “I feel like I’m in a good spot. When I was running, I felt pretty good.”

The diminutive second baseman was only supposed to play seven innings on Friday but stayed in for one more to get an extra at-bat. He played the full game at second base on Sunday and served as the designated hitter on Monday. 

Altuve’s defense stood out the entire weekend, and he made a diving stop and throw to first on Friday and started a double play on Sunday. He scored two runs, was walked twice and struck out three times over the weekend. 

“You’re one swing away from feeling 100 percent,” Altuve said. “Sometimes, that’s what it takes. I felt pretty good tonight.”

Altuve has now made eight career Triple-A appearances, including a brief stint with Round Rock while the team was in Nashville earlier this season and a short rehab appearance with the Fresno Grizzlies in 2018. 

The six-time All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger, three-time American League Batting Champion, 2015 Gold Glove Award winner said he’s nearing 100 percent and he’s waiting for further instructions from the Astros. 

He was impressed with the level of competition he saw on the roster at the Triple-A level.

“There is a lot of talent here,” Altuve said. “We have guys that have gone up and down to the big leagues. I don’t think it’s going to be long until 80 or 90 percent of the guys are on a big league team.”

The fans loved having him here, too. A near-sellout crowd of 12,116 came out to Dell Diamond on Friday night, while nearly 10,000 were in attendance to see the Houston superstar on both Sunday and Monday against the Tacoma Rainiers. 

“The fans are great,” Altuve said. “IT makes it a lot easier here when you come here and see the support from the fans even when you’re just rehabbing. Great city, great ballpark, great fans and great teammates, and that’s all I can ask for.”

Rehabbing Astros reliever Collin McHugh pitched 0.2 innings on Friday, allowing two runs on one hit — a home run — with one strikeout and one walk. Houston catcher Max Stassi finished with three hits in eight at-bats and drove in three runs during the weekend series. 

The diminutive second baseman was only supposed to play seven innings on Friday but stayed in for one more to get an extra at-bat. He played the full game at second base on Sunday and served as the designated hitter on Monday. 

He’ll return to an Astros team that’s leading the American League West Division by nearly 10 games over the Texas Rangers. 

“I’m excited, I can’t wait,” Altuve said. “Hopefully I can go up there and help them win because they’ve really been playing good ball.”

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