Astros star Jose Altuve suffers setback during injury rehab with 'fatigue and soreness' in right leg

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve played in a Triple-A game to start a rehab assignment on Sunday. Usually when this happens, a player is going to rejoin the major league roster in the coming days. Instead, Altuve suffered a setback. 

Altuve had knee surgery once the Astros were bounced out of the ALCS last fall. The procedure was to repair a patella avulsion fracture, which means a small chunk of his kneecap had been pulled away by the tendon. The injury originally happened to Altuve in July. He then hit the injured list (then disabled list) for the first time in his career. Come playoff time, it was clearly hampering his ability to run. He even served as DH in the Astros' final three playoff games. 

This time around, Altuve was officially on the injured list with a left hamstring strain, but the right knee appears to be bothering him now. 

In 39 games this season, Altuve has hit .243/.329/.472 for a slugging-heavy 113 OPS+. He's still an above average hitter, but in the small sample this isn't normal Altuve. He entered the season a career .316 hitter. He's also striking out 15.2 percent of the time compared to a career 11.2 percent rate. 

On the positive side, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told reporters he expects the issue to be resolved in a few weeks and not the rest of the season (via Brian McTaggart). I spoke with an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in knees and he said the fracture should have long since been healed and soreness isn't all too concerning, so that lines up with Luhnow's response. 

And Altuve's numbers were very likely simply him starting slow. 

Still, the situation bears watching. He's one of the most important players on the arguable best team in baseball. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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