Astros target Angels series for Altuve's return

Second baseman misses fourth straight start with hamstring discomfort

Astros target Angels series for Altuve's return

SEATTLE -- All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve appears likely to return to the Astros lineup Monday in Anaheim after going through more agility drills to test his right hamstring Sunday. Altuve said he doesn't feel any discomfort in his hamstring.

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Altuve wasn't in the lineup Sunday for the fourth consecutive game. He returned to action Tuesday after missing three games with right-hamstring discomfort and left Wednesday's game in Colorado because manager A.J. Hinch didn't think he looked comfortable.

Altuve wouldn't say for sure he would play Monday, but all signs point in that direction. "I don't want to say something and not do it," he said. "It's their decision. They've been great to me, you know. The coaching staff and trainers are doing a really good job and I want to let them do their job rather than hurry up with something, but whatever they decide to do I'll be ready."

Prior to Sunday's game, Altuve did sprints and hopped on one leg while Hinch and head athletic trainer Nate Lucero watched.

"It's looking more promising than the beginning of this series," Hinch said. "I'm going to be overly cautious to make sure we feel good about putting him back in the game. He had his helmet on last night and was going to pinch-hit at one point. I'm going to hold off starting him until tomorrow."

Altuve is hitting .287 with five homers, 28 RBIs and 17 stolen bases, which leads the American League. He hit leadoff to begin the season, but was moved to second in late May when Springer went to the top of the order. George Springer has played so well lately, Hinch is likely to keep Springer and rookie Carlos Correa 1-2 in the lineup when Altuve returns.

"If I play tomorrow, I'm going to ask A.J. to hit me eighth to not mess up the top part of the lineup," said Altuve, perhaps jokingly.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.