Dan's Dugout: Little Altuve Carries Big Stick • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Little Altuve Carries Big Stick

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Pudge Rodriguez proved that little guys can make big impressions in the big leagues.

Jose Altuve has won two AL batting crowns at age 26

Jose Altuve has won two AL batting crowns at age 26

Jose Altuve is merely adding to that hypothesis.

The shortest man in the majors towers over most of his colleagues in ability.

He’s led the American League in hits three years in succession, won a pair of batting crowns, and even stamped himself as a potential 30/30 man.

Not bad for a second baseman who stands 5:06 in his stocking feet.

Still just 26, Altuve finished third in the Most Valuable Player voting last year and would have done better if his Astros hadn’t missed the playoffs.

All Altuve did was finish second in stolen bases, third in doubles, and first in fielding his position.

According to Houston manager A.J. Hinch, “Everybody will talk about his batting titles. And everybody will talk about how rare it is to be his size and be as good as he is.”

The manager also likes the fact that the fleet leadoff man takes full

Altuve also carries a good glove

Altuve also carries a good glove

responsibility on the rare days he makes an error or fans with men on base. “He doesn’t blame others,” Hinch told USA TODAY. “He expects a lot out of himself and is very accountable.”

Sounds like a philosophy a certain prominent politician could try.

Altuve, to his credit, simply keeps rolling, gathering steam like a snowball in the Rockies. He added power last summer, when he socked 24 homers, and intends to take advantage of Minute Maid’s short dimensions again.

If he does, and if the Astros repair some pitching problems, the team could challenge for its second World Series berth.

Elsewhere in baseball:

New St. Louis centerfielder Dexter Fowler is concerned that his Iranian-born wife Darya and their 3-year-old daughter might have trouble visiting family now that immigration rules have been toughened . . .

Barry Bonds spent time helping Dexter Fowler this winter

Barry Bonds spent time helping Dexter Fowler this winter

Fired Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds spent 10 days in the batting cage with Fowler over the winter . . .

Hats off to Mets ace Noah Syndergaard for rebuffing overtures from the World Baseball Classic because it conflicts with his spring training preparation . . .

Other pitchers who preferred to stay in the camps of their regular-season clubs include Justin Verlander, Madison Bumgarner, and Clayton Kershaw . . .

Fueled in part by former major-leaguer Jason Marquis, Team Israel advanced to the finals of the WBC for the first time . . .

Ex-Braves Jeff Francoeur and Kelly Johnson could still wind up in Atlanta, which needs veteran bench strength in the outfield and the infield . . .

The enormous World Series ring the Cubs will get features 108 diamonds –

The Cubs will soon get an enormous World Series ring Photo Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

The Cubs will soon get an enormous World Series ring
Credit: Bill Menzel

one for each year of the drought between titles . . .

Armed with the knowledge that pitching for Colorado is like navigating Cape Hatteras, erstwhile Kaycee closer Greg Holland signed with the Rockies anyway, saying he likes a challenge . . .

Lecom Park, formerly McKechnie Field, is the oldest active spring training, with roots dating back to 1923, the same year Yankee Stadium opened.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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