CHICAGO -- The Astros will find out Sunday which player will represent the club at next month's All-Star Game in Kansas City. It's likely the Astros will have only one representative in the Midsummer Classic, with second baseman Jose Altuve and shortstop Jed Lowrie the top candidates.
Lowrie leads all Major League shortstops with 14 home runs and also ranks first in slugging percentage (.494) and is third in RBIs among shortstops with 33. He's hitting only .217 in June, though, which has dropped his batting average to .261 entering play Sunday.
Altuve, who played in the All-Star Futures Game a year ago, appears to have a better shot of being selected as one of the reserves for manager Tony La Russa's NL squad. He's been dealing with a strained right hamstring that's kept him out of the starting lineup for six consecutive days, but is hitting .309 with five homers, 23 RBIs and has 30 multi-hit games.
He ranks second among all Major League second basemen in batting and hits (88).
"I haven't thought a lot about that, maybe because I'm not playing," Altuve said Saturday. "I'm more excited to play a game. It's going to be real fun to know who's going to represent the Astros in the All-Star Game."
Astros manager Brad Mills said he hadn't politicked for any of his players, but bench coach Joe Pettini -- La Russa's long-time bench coach with the Cardinals who will be on the NL staff -- had said he would call La Russa and make a case for any Astros he feels are worthy.
The Home Run Derby can be seen on MLB.com and ESPN at 8 p.m. ET on July 9. The All-Star Game is on FOX at 8 p.m. on July 10.
Altuve to return to Astros lineup Sunday
CHICAGO -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who hasn't played since straining his right hamstring running to first base in last Sunday's game, will return to the lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Cubs, manager Brad Mills said.
Altuve did more running on the field prior to Saturday's game and says he's ready to play. He was on deck to pinch-hit in the ninth inning when the game ended.
"I feel like maybe today or tomorrow I can get into a game and I feel ready to play," Altuve said prior the game. "I can't wait. I feel 100 percent. If it's not 100 percent, it's pretty close. They asked me how I felt and I said 'Good.' I'm going to run again and show them I can play."
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the club wants to be convinced Altuve is at 100 percent before putting him back on the field.
"If there's any risk, we won't put him in there tomorrow," he said. "If he works out today and feels good, there's a chance tomorrow could be a special day for him."
Altuve could be chosen Sunday to play for the National League All-Star team.