CINCINNATI -- The Astros' already depleted infield took another blow Friday night when second baseman Jose Altuve left the game against the Reds in the bottom of the third inning with a left lower abdominal strain.
Altuve, who singled on the first pitch of the ball game Friday, said he was injured in the first inning when attempting to steal second base. He got the steal, but said he felt the soreness on the turn to second.
Altuve took one more at-bat to test the muscle, but decided to play it safe.
"It was when I tried to take second base, I just turned really hard, so that was bad of me," Altuve said. "After I [stole] that base, I felt really sore. I took the next at-bat, so when I swung it was a little worse."
Matt Downs, who was filling in at third base, made the move to second base, and Matt Dominguez, who had been out of the lineup nursing a wrist injury, came in at third.
Altuve was left out of Saturday's lineup and Astros manager Tony DeFrancesco said Altuve would be out "a few days."
"It's kind of deep up in his groin, so we're just going to have to wait and see how that goes," DeFrancesco said. "He has no activity [Saturday]. He did his treatment."
Altuve hopes to return to the starting lineup at some point next week when the team returns to Houston.
"I think it's day-by-day," Altuve said. "We'll see how it feels when I get home. We'll see if I can play."
Lowrie's rehab outing doesn't go as Astros hoped
CINCINNATI -- Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie completed his first rehab appearance Friday for Double-A Corpus Christi, but didn't quite get the results for which the club was looking.
Lowrie, who has been out since the middle of July with a nerve injury in his right leg, went 0-for-4 at the plate as the designated hitter Friday in Corpus Christi's 5-0 loss. The defeat also knocked the Hooks out of the playoffs, ending their season.
Astros manager Tony DeFrancesco said Lowrie was still not quite ready to return, and is being sent to Class-A Advanced Lancaster, which is still alive in the playoffs.
"Some of the reports [say] his timing was off," DeFrancesco said of Lowrie's outing. "I know he had a rough time at the plate. He's headed to Lancaster today and hopefully he'll get there on time and get some at-bats today. Hopefully he'll be there through the weekend."
Lancaster is slated to play Saturday and Sunday night, and three more games Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday if necessary.
DeFrancesco said the plan is for Lowrie to play five innings in the field Saturday and that he wants to have Lowrie back in the lineup possibly as soon as next week.
"They want to get him some at-bats and it's time for him to go in the field and see if he can move around," DeFrancesco said. "Time is limited. They're running out of Minor League games. We're lucky we have him going out right now."
Astros injury-induced infield shuffle should end soon
CINCINNATI -- The Astros have had to do some serious shuffling around the infield because of all the injuries that have plagued the team of late.
Five different infielders are currently listed on the Astros injury report, but the good news is, the juggling act may not have to last too long.
Marwin Gonzales, Brandon Laird, Scott Moore and Jose Altuve are all listed as day-to-day injuries and should return soon.
Astros manager Tony DeFrancesco had to turn to essentially the fourth man on the depth chart -- Matt Downs -- to fill in at third base Friday night, before Matt Dominguez's unexpected early return.
The interim manager will have to do much of the same the rest of the weekend, plugging in infielder-turned-outfielder Jimmy Paredes at second, Tyler Greene at short and using Downs as a "super-utility" guy for a few days.
Mark Clements is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.