HOUSTON -- It's been a busy year for All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve, who played a full schedule in the Venezuelan winter league last offseason before commencing his first full season as a starter in the Major Leagues in 2012.
Altuve, who didn't even get a respite during the All-Star break, has held up fine physically this year, which isn't surprising considering he's just 22 years old. But Altuve said he plans to scale back his winter schedule this year to about 20 games in December.
"I need a break," he said. "As soon as I get there [to his home in Venezuela], I'm going to rest and then play at the end of the season, so I'll have plenty of time to get my rest."
Altuve, who plays for Magallanes, led the Venezuelan Winter League in hits (82) and batting average (.339) last year.
"Last year, I was a little bit tired, but I think I prepared good before the season, I did my job in Spring Training and I feel good," he said. "I think my swing is good, my legs are good, everything is good. I'm going to keep working hard to finish strong and go to Venezuela and have some fun."
Callups not yet set, but Astros have ideas
HOUSTON -- Astros manager Brad Mills has already had a couple of conversations with general manager Jeff Luhnow regarding potential Sept. 1 callups. Mills and Luhnow have thrown around some names who could be called up from the Minor Leagues, but Mills cautioned nothing is set.
The Astros will likely call up catcher Carlos Corporan as well as a pitcher or two and a few more position players.
"You want to keep supplementing the ballclub," Mills said. "You want to be able to have a guy that can pinch-run, maybe some guys to pinch-hit, maybe a couple of more left-handed and right-handed bats off the bench or in the lineup against a left-handed pitcher or a right-handed pitcher.
"Usually, the guys who come up are guys you want to get a look at and see what they can do. It's the introduction to the Major Leagues for some guys and they want to see what it's all about, see what the travel is all about, see what it's like coming to the ballpark and how much work we have to do every day."
The Astros' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City is competing for a playoff spot in the Pacific Coast League, which could impact which players the Astros call up early in September.
"You don't want to take everybody from their club," Mills said. "These guys have been down there all year long and they put themselves in position to win something, and you don't want to devastate the whole club."