4/21/2013 1:42 A.M. ET
Altuve swinging a hot bat for the Astros
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve is off to another good start at the plate, entering Saturday hitting .358 with one homer and eight RBIs and riding a five-game hitting streak. He ranked tied for fourth in the Majors with 24 hits and was tied for fourth in the American League with seven multi-hit games.
"He's doing tremendous," manager Bo Porter said. "He's a baseball player. A lot of times people talk about size and stature and this and that, but this guy has an extreme passion to be good and it drives him. He has inner motivation to go along with an extremely gifted ability with hand-eye coordination to put the barrel on the baseball, and he has fun. From a manager's standpoint, it's easy to pencil that guy into the lineup every day because you know you're going to get everything he has."
And Porter has done just that. Altuve has started all 17 of the Astros' games this season as the leadoff hitter, making one start at designated hitter. With the Astros now in the AL, Porter said he can keep Altuve's bat in the lineup if he's getting worn out.
"That's the luxury of the DH, that's the luxury of the American League," he said. "You can pick a day after he's ran the bases a lot and been on his feet, and it could be a day game after a night game when you just pick a day and allow him to come to the park and get off his feet and worry about nothing except just hitting four or five times that day."
Blackley eager to see action after being activated
HOUSTON -- Getting placed on the disabled list before he even had a chance to throw one pitch with the Astros, left-hander Travis Blackley was eager to get back on the mound in a Major League game after he was activated on Saturday.
Blackley rejoined the Astros after throwing two innings and about 30 pitches in his only Minor League rehab outing at Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday. He strained his left shoulder throwing in the bullpen shortly after being traded to Houston.
"That wasn't the plan, for sure," said Blackley, who was acquired from Oakland on April 4. "There was no way I was going to be able to throw the ball with anything on it. I felt super tired, and a little pain was going on in the back of the shoulder. It's probably the best thing for the arm at the time. I was OK with it. It's not how I wanted to start my go here, that's for sure."
The Australian southpaw compiled a 6-4 mark and 3.86 ERA in 24 outings (15 starts) last year with Oakland, which selected him off waivers from San Francisco in May. He'll be used in long relief with Houston.
"I wouldn't say I'm anxious, but I'm excited and ready to go," he said. "We're 20 days into the season and I haven't thrown in a game yet. I'm excited."
Blackley appeared in the fourth inning of Saturday's 19-6 loss to the Indians and allowed three runs on three hits.