Altuve reports improvement in right hamstring

Hinch believes second baseman avoided serious injury on Friday

Altuve reports improvement in right hamstring

HOUSTON -- A day after straining his right hamstring while legging out a grounder, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was not in the lineup, as expected, but was encouraged with how the injury felt Saturday morning.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Altuve and other #ASGWorthy players

"It feels really great, better than I thought," Altuve said. "Obviously, I'm not playing today, but I feel way, way better than I did yesterday."

Altuve did not require an MRI, nor did he take batting practice before Saturday's game. Instead he got more treatment on the hamstring, which he said was not bothering him before Friday's injury.

Marwin Gonzalez, who entered Friday's 10-0 win in the second inning in place of Altuve, got the start at second base on Saturday and was batting eighth. George Springer moved back into the leadoff role in Altuve's absence and heralded rookie Carlos Correa vaulted up to second -- the highest he's hit in his short Major League career.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch wouldn't say whether the reigning American League batting champ would be available for spot play on Saturday.

"He'll be day to day for the next couple days until he feels back to 100 percent," Hinch said. "But I know he and our trainer were encouraged by how he was evaluated today. We avoided a worse injury."

When asked if he felt good enough to enter Saturday's game if he was needed late, Altuve took a broader look at the season.

"I don't know because I think we have to give it the time it needs," Altuve said. "I'd rather lose one or two games than lose a month. I have to be smart about this and it's not going to be easy for me to sit on the bench, but I have to support my team from here."

Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.