9/2/2014 10:19 P.M. ET
Luhnow keeps door open for Springer return
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- The saga of George Springer continues.
The rookie outfielder, who hit 20 homers in 78 games, has been out since July 20 with a strained left quad, and the club has yet to put a firm timetable on when he might return, though general manager Jeff Luhnow on Tuesday kept the door open.
"I know he's dying to get back, and we're dying to have him back," Luhnow said. "The fact we had a winning month last month [15-14] without George Springer is not something that we would have probably expected, because he's a big part of our offense and our defense.
"He's a big part of our clubhouse, and I want him back. Our trainers are working hard, he's working hard, and we're hoping we'll get at least a couple of weeks, if not more."
In addition, Luhnow said that outfielder Alex Presley has been activated from the disabled list after missing nearly two months with a strained oblique, but he's likely still a few days from game action. With rosters expanded, the Astros could activate Presley without taking another roster spot.
Altuve on a tear with bat and feet
HOUSTON -- With a single and a home run in his first two-bats on Tuesday night, All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve achieved base hits in six consecutive plate appearances. He went 4-for-5 on Sunday with hits in his final four at-bats, including two doubles.
The home run -- his seventh of the season -- was the sixth hit, making him the first Astros player to achieve such a streak since Brandon Barnes on July 19-20, 2013. It also gave him 191 hits and a 10-game hitting streak. He also stole his 50th base of the season in the third inning.
Altuve, who began the night leading the Major Leagues in batting average (.336) and hits, is vying to become the first member of the Astros to win a batting title. If he does he would join Joe Mauer (2006) and Alex Rodriguez (1996) as the only American League players 24 or younger to win a batting title in the last 20 seasons.
Altuve is well on his way to becoming the second Astro to reach 200 in a season, joining Craig Biggio, who had a club-record 210 in 1998, when he hit .325.
Altuve's streak ended when he grounded out to short in the fourth, though he may have started a new one with a single in the sixth.
Crain unlikely to pitch in 2014
HOUSTON -- Reliever Jesse Crain, who's been out all season following surgery to correct tendinitis in his biceps last October, is coming to grips that he probably won't pitch at all this season.
"It's kind of obvious time is running out," Crain said on Tuesday.
The Astros signed Crain to a one-year, $3.25 millon contract last winter to bolster their bullpen, but the recovery has taken longer than anyone expected.
Crain hasn't completely ruled out pitching in September, but it's extremely unlikely.
"I'm making progress, but in the big scheme of things, time is running out," he said. "We'll see. I'll keep grinding until the finishing bell rings. I'm definitely getting better and making progress, and whether it's going to be enough time to get into a game, it's hard to say. We'll see."
Crain, who hasn't pitched since last July, would like to play for Houston next season, but he'll have to get healthy first. General manager Jeff Luhnow said on Monday that the club has looked into its medical due diligence when it comes to signing injured players.
"I've done all I can do in the big scheme of things," Crain said. "It's unfortunate time is running out. All I can do is get as close as I can and see where I'm at. It doesn't make sense on their part at this point to rush to get [me] into a game or two or three. We'll see what happens."