Altuve likely to return to Astros lineup early this week

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 01: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros reacts after they beat the Oakland Athletics in their Opening Day game at RingCentral Coliseum on April 01, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) (Ezra Shaw, 2021 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – Houston Astros star second baseman Jose Altuve could possibly start Monday against the Seattle Mariners, Astros General Manager James Click said on the Astros pregame radio show.

Manager Dusty Baker said Altuve should return “early this week.” Management said they are optimistic.

Altuve has missed nearly two weeks after going on the COVID-19 injured list. Altuve confirmed on Saturday he was battling coronavirus. The second baseman said he was surprised he contracted the virus, after getting the first dose of the vaccination.

Altuve has been one of Houston’s leading hitters, batting .318 with a .856 OPS at the top of the order for the Astros.

Without Altuve, Houston has gone 4-6 through Sunday.

The other players on the health and safety protocol list -- Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Robel Garcia and Martin Maldonado -- returned on April 20.

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