Second baseman Jose Altuve is the player who makes the Houston Astros offense go, but the team may be without its spark plug for a period of time after he had to leave Wednesday's game against the Texas Rangers with an oblique injury.
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Altuve to Be Evaluated Before Friday's Game
Thursday, Sept. 15
The four-time All Star is in the midst of another great campaign with a .340 average, 24 home runs and 94 RBI on the heels of a 2015 season that saw him hit .313 with a then-career-high 15 home runs and 66 RBI to go along with 38 stolen bases en route to a playoff berth.
He set career marks in 2014 as well with a .341 batting average, 225 hits and 56 stolen bases. While he hasn't quite reached those levels since, the 26-year-old speedster has improved from a run-production perspective and been a huge part of Houston's resurgence.
Most wouldn't expect Altuve to be such a great player based on his size (5'6", 165 lbs), but he is one of the best pure hitters in baseball.
Perhaps the one downside with regard to Altuve is the fact his stature could leave him susceptible to injuries. He has never missed a significant amount of games during a single season, but minor ailments piled up in 2015, causing him to miss eight contests.
The Astros may not be so lucky this time with regard to the severity of the injury, which would be a major blow to a team that is finally relevant after spending years in the basement.
Provided the injury forces Altuve to miss some time, Marwin Gonzalez—who has played 75 innings at second base this year—projects as his primary replacement. Tony Kemp could also be in line for starts at second if Altuve misses time.
Houston has a talented team, especially at the plate, but being without a tone-setter like Altuve is something that would be difficult to overcome for an extended period of time.
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