HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve leads all National League second basemen in hits (143) and stolen bases (25). He is second in batting (.295), second in doubles (31) and fourth in runs scored (70).
He has played in 123 of 132 games, and with stats like those, it's difficult to get him some rest. But in the last 10 games, he is just 7-for-38.
Altuve was not in the starting lineup for Saturday's game against the Reds.
"He's fine," interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said of Altuve's health. "He's been playing a lot. Last year [he had] over 500 at-bats. I don't want to see him fade in September.
"So now, with some day games, we'll try to get him some time off. He's been going hard all season. So it's that time of year. We're just trying to keep him fresh."
Good news for Astros: Gonzalez could return
HOUSTON -- The injury to shortstop Marwin Gonzalez is not as bad as first thought.
Gonzalez left Thursday's game against the Giants after tearing a ligament in his left ankle stepping awkwardly on first base. The injury was first thought to be season-ending.
Gonzalez remains in a protective boot, but interim manager Tony DeFrancesco anticipates a return to the lineup this season.
"We don't need to put him on the DL," DeFrancesco said.
No timetable has been set for a return.
"We don't know how long it's going to be," DeFrancesco said.
Schafer, Valdez, Downs join roster
HOUSTON -- It's Sept. 1, and that means rosters may be expanded. The Astros have begun to take advantage, bringing up three players from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Outfielder Jordan Schafer, right-handed reliever Jose Valdez and utility player Matt Downs were all called up for Saturday's game at Minute Maid Park.
Schafer, who had been on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury, said before Saturday's game that he is healthy and ready to go. Valdez will add depth to the bullpen, and Downs adds versatility.
"He's been throwing the ball real well," interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said of Valdez. "[At Oklahoma City] he's got 21 saves. So that's another right-handed arm out of the bullpen.
"Downs can help us out. [He's] a utility guy, can play some short and second. The success he had last year, we're trying to get that back for the month of September. So it's a good addition. We're excited to have all three."
Additional callups will be determined by what Oklahoma City does in the next few days. The team is 1 1/2 games out of first place with three to go.
"In the next day or two, we'll find out where we stand with bringing some more players up to help," DeFrancesco said.
Astros claim Laird from Yankees
HOUSTON -- In addition to expanding their roster by three on Saturday, the Astros picked up Brandon Laird off waivers from the Yankees. The 24-year-old infielder will report to the Astros in time for Sunday afternoon's game with the Reds.
Laird, primarily a third baseman/first baseman, hit 15 homers and 31 doubles, and drove in 77 runs over 130 games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate. He has hit 20-plus homers twice over six Minor League seasons.
Laird has appeared in 11 Major League games (six starts), all in 2011, all for the Yankees. He is the younger brother of veteran Major League catcher Gerald Laird, who is currently playing for the Tigers.
No starter has been named for Monday's series opener in Pittsburgh.
"We'll have that in the next day or two," interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said.
Sunday is Milo Hamilton Day at Minute Maid Park, as the Astros celebrate the Hall of Fame broadcaster's 85th birthday with a pregame ceremony. In addition, 10,000 fans will receive a Milo Hamilton bobblehead. This is Hamilton's 59th and final season as a Major League broadcaster; his tenure is second only to Vin Scully's 64 seasons.
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.