Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve revealed Saturday that he tested positive for COVID-19, but the six-time All-Star is close to returning to the lineup.
Altuve was one of five Astros placed on the injured list on April 14. The other four returned earlier this week while Altuve remained out.
Altuve was cleared to work out at Minute Maid Park on Friday and told reporters prior to Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels that he expects to be activated soon.
“They haven’t told me when, but I feel really good, so pretty soon,” Altuve said.
Altuve, 30, said he doesn’t know how he contracted the coronavirus. He didn’t reveal whether he experienced symptoms.
He said he had previously received the first COVID-19 vaccine prior to the positive test.
Altuve, a three-time batting champion, also said he missed not being at the ballpark or around the team.
“It’s very difficult just to watch the guys play on TV and not be able to be there with them like I normally am,” said Altuve, who is batting .318 with one homer in 11 games this season. “Like I said, I’m happy to be back here.”
The 2017 American League MVP impressed Astros manager Dusty Baker during his Friday workout, particularly in batting practice.
“He looked great in BP,” Baker said. “He’s been running, he’s been throwing and kind of doing boyhood stuff — running in the back yard, throwing against the wall, hitting off the tee. He looked great. It was the first time he took live BP. It looks like he got his stroke. But that’s BP. We want to make sure he’s ready physically.”
The other Astros who went on the IL at the same time as Altuve were third baseman Alex Bregman, designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, catcher Martin Maldonado and infielder Robel Garcia. They were activated on Tuesday.
Altuve is the second known Houston player to test positive for COVID-19. Veteran reliever Pedro Baez tested positive in early March and was transferred to the 10-day injured list on April 10 with right shoulder soreness.