HOUSTON -- Six-time All-Star Jose Altuve started at designated hitter for the Astros in Tuesday's Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox. Altuve has been nursing a sore right knee for much of the second half of the season and the playoffs, and he was
HOUSTON -- Six-time All-Star Jose Altuve started at designated hitter for the Astros in Tuesday's Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox. Altuve has been nursing a sore right knee for much of the second half of the season and the playoffs, and he was favoring the knee in Sunday's loss to Boston in Game 2.
With Altuve at DH, Marwin Gonzalez started at second base and Tony Kemp started in left field. Brian McCann also made his first start of the ALCS at catcher, which was expected. Astros manager AJ Hinch said this was going to be his lineup regardless of whether Altuve was at DH or second base.
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"[The knee is] bugging him," Hinch said. "He's doing everything he can to play. He doesn't want to make a big deal out of it, and I know moving him to the DH spot brings the first couple of questions about it, but he'll do anything we ask, which is commendable."
Altuve, who went 1-for-8 in the first two games of the ALCS in Boston, missed nearly a month with the injury and was on the disabled list for the first time in his career. He hasn't missed any games in the postseason, though it's clear he's not in peak playoff form.
Altuve lined a long single off Boston closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth on Sunday, contributing to the Astros' near-comeback effort in a 7-5 loss to the Red Sox. Altuve's hit bounced off the Green Monster, scoring George Springer.
Hinch confindent in Gonzalez in infield, outfield
When Hinch says Gonzalez is his "answer to everything," he means it. Gonzalez was his clear choice to start at second base Tuesday with Altuve at DH, even though Kemp won a Gold Glove in 2014 for being the best defensive second baseman in the Minor Leagues. When it comes to Gonzalez vs. Kemp, Hinch says Gonzalez is his best choice at second base.
"When I need to play Jose at DH, my answer is Marwin Gonzalez and Tony in the outfield," Hinch said. "We're more comfortable with this alignment both at the beginning of the game and potentially the end of the game."
Gonzalez played a career-high 145 games in the regular season, starting 65 games in left field, 29 at shortstop, 21 at first base, 19 at second base and two at third base. He started every game in left field for the Astros in last year's World Series run.
"Marwin is a really good infielder," Hinch said. "And one of the best infielders we have at a couple of different positions. So I think my comfort with that is Marwin's an infielder by trade.
"We pushed him into the outfield because of the opening of the playing time. He's developed into an excellent left fielder as well. But as far as turning the double play, range, his hands, his arm, we don't miss a beat with him in the infield. And he's filled in everywhere."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow <ahref="http: twitter.com/brianmctaggart"="">@brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.</ahref="http:>