Altuve picked to play for MLB All-Star team in Japan

Altuve picked to play for MLB All-Star team in Japan

NEW YORK -- Now that he's conquered the Major Leagues, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is taking his hitting prowess to Japan.

Altuve told on Saturday the Major League Baseball Players Association called him earlier this week and invited him to play to the MLB All-Star team during the All-Star Series 2014, which is a five-game series against Japan's national team this November in Japan.

"I heard the guys talking about it in the All-Star Game, so I said I want to go. Why not?" Altuve said. "I told my agent to tell the Players Association, and they called me a couple of days ago and said I made the team. I'm really happy and looking forward to going to Japan."

The team will be managed by Red Sox manager John Farrell, who was announced recently as a replacement for former Rangers manager Ron Washington.

Among the players who Farrell will lead to Japan are MLB All-Stars Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners, Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles, Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  

"It's something I always wanted to do," Altuve said. "I don't know the country, but I heard it's really good and beautiful. Baseball there is a high level there. I wanted to go there. I know that's going to help my game. I'm going to play with guys like Robinson Cano, Yasiel Puig and Albert Pujols. I have a lot to learn in this sport, so I think that's the right time to go."

Altuve entered Saturday's game with a team-record and Major League-best 223 hits and was closing in on winning the American League batting title with a .342 batting average, which would make him the first Astros player to reach that milestone.

The first game will be held on Nov. 12 at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, with games two through five at the Tokyo Dome Nov. 14-16. The fifth and final game will be Nov. 18 at the Sapporo Dome in Sapporo. Two exhibition games will complement the five-game series, with one game in Osaka (Koshien Stadium) and the other in Okinawa (Okinawa Cellular Stadium). 

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