Second baseman vying for starting spot in All-Star Game
By Chandler Rome
HOUSTON -- As Astros manager A.J. Hinch finished his pregame media availability, George Springer stood just outside the crowd of reporters holding an orange T-shirt with teammate Jose Altuve's face on it.
Hinch obliged, and all of the Astros coaches and players other than Altuve donned the T-shirts -- which were created to bolster All-Star support for the second baseman -- throughout batting practice and pregame activities. The shirts -- which read "Yes Way, Jose" -- show Altuve giving a thumbs-up, and they sure seemed to give him a jolt, as he hit a solo homer off of Masahiro Tanaka in the fifth inning to complete a dramatic six-run comeback, though the Astros ultimately fell to the Yankees, 9-6, Saturday afternoon.
The Altuve shirts were also given to the first 10,000 fans who arrived at Minute Maid Park in an effort to boost Altuve's numbers in the voting for the All-Star Game. Voting ends on Thursday at 10:59 p.m. CT.
In the latest 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot update released last Monday, Altuve trailed the Royals' Omar Infante by 435,540 votes to start at second base. If Altuve were to overtake Infante and be voted a starter by fans, he would be just the seventh player in Astros history to earn a fan-elected start and the first since Lance Berkman in 2008.
"He deserves to be in the All-Star Game," Springer said during batting practice. "We shouldn't even need to vote him in."
Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.