The Astros announced tonight that they’ve activated reigning American League MVP Jose Altuve from the disabled list. He’d been out since July 26 due to a right knee injury. Houston also selected the contract of lefty Framber Valdez (as had already been reported) and optioned both Cionel Perez and Kyle Tucker to Triple-A Fresno.
Altuve returns amid a pivotal series against the Mariners, who sit just 3.5 games back of the Astros and the surprising Athletics in an AL West race that is vastly closer than most expected heading into the season. Prior to landing on the shelf, he was in the midst of another excellent season, albeit one that hasn’t quite matched last year’s extraordinary pace. Through 454 trips to the plate, Altuve is hitting .329/.392/.464 with nine homers, 24 doubles, two triples and 14 steals.
In Altuve’s absence, Yuli Gurriel and Marwin Gonzalez picked up much of the slack at second base. Gurriel now figures to return to first base, with Gonzalez continuing to be deployed all over the diamond in a super-utility role.