Altuve was out with right knee soreness, and his return wasn't the only roster move the team announced. It also selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Framber Valdez and optioned outfielder Kyle Tucker and left-handed pitcher Cionel Perez to Triple-A.
Tucker struggled in his first action in the major leagues, slashing .154/.254/.212 with zero home runs and three RBI in 20 games. It is reasonable, however, to expect better production from him eventually considering MLB.com has him ranked as the eighth-best prospect in the game.
While Tucker may be a future star, the return of Altuve came just in time for the 2018 Astros.
He last played July 25, and the defending World Series champions were an ugly 8-13 without him. The six-time All-Star and three-time AL batting champion is slashing .329/.392/.464 with nine home runs and 46 RBI and figures to provide a much-needed boost.
The Astros are tied with the Oakland Athletics atop the American League West and 3.5 games ahead of the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card spot. Houston is looking to defend its title, but it will have its hands full just trying to make the playoffs if it doesn't play better moving forward.
Altuve should help the Astros do just that in the final stretch of the regular season.