7/2/2014 2:42 P.M. ET
Altuve still aiming for All-Star appearance
By Mike Vernon / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- Picture this: The 5-foot-6 Jose Altuve playing in a 3-on-3 basketball game against the 6-foot-4 Miguel Cabrera.
Altuve and his brother won again and again and again, as Cabrera credited the shooting from Altuve that led to the downfall of his team.
"I can shoot," Altuve said. "Kind of like Kevin Durant, I don't miss."
Both Cabrera and Altuve are both from Maracay, Venezuela, and are good friends because of it. Altuve went 9-for-14 in the Astros' three recent games against the Tigers with six stolen bases. He leads the Major Leagues with 118 hits and the American League with 37 stolen bases and a batting average of .347 entering Wednesday's game.
Altuve said the two would joke when he got to first base about whether or not he was going to steal the base or get picked off.
"You appreciate to see what he can do," Cabrera said. "You appreciate that as a player, playing against guys like that. Houston has to appreciate the way he plays."
The city may appreciate him, but Altuve is still trailing behind three players in All-Star votes. He's fourth in the American League voting for second basemen, behind Robinson Cano of the Mariners (2,474,924), Ian Kinsler of the Tigers (1,603,185) and Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox (1,477,800).
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 10:59 p.m. CT. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
Bass activated off DL, Chapman to Triple-A
HOUSTON -- Reliever Anthony Bass was activated off the disabled list on Wednesday after being sidelined since May 11 with an intercostal strain.
Bass had returned to the team since throwing his final rehab start at Quad Cities on Sunday, but wasn't activated off the disabled list until Wednesday. The Astros sent Kevin Chapman back to Triple-A Oklahoma City as a corresponding move.
"It feels good to be back," Bass said. "Seems like I've been gone for way too long."
In 15 games for the Astros, Bass is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in 18 innings while allowing 17 hits, nine earned runs and five walks.
Chapman was recalled from Oklahoma City on Tuesday and threw two innings while giving up two runs on three hits in a 12-3 loss to the Mariners. He was unavailable to throw Wednesday, leading the Astros to activate Bass, who is ready to go.
"I pitched on Sunday, so I knew I wasn't going to be activated right away, especially coming off of an injury on my right side," Bass said. "I was definitely getting excited watching the games here, just wanted to get back on the mound."
Astros center fielder Dexter Fowler was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday and has been out since June 27 with a similar injury.
"It's just one of those things that takes time," Bass said. "Even though my arm felt good, I knew my right side was still kind of barking at me a little bit."
Mike Vernon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.