After playing hurt for much of the second half and the entire postseason, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve underwent knee surgery three weeks ago to repair a patella avulsion fracture in his right knee. In English, that means the patella tendon ripped away a piece of bone in Altuve’s kneecap. Ouch.On Sunday, while at Minute Maid Park for a private event, Altuve told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart he expects to be “120 percent” for the start of spring training in three months. From McTaggart:”We have a lot of time before Spring Training,” said Altuve. “We’re not doing a lot. The only thing they told me is we’re going to be 120 percent for the first day of Spring Training, and that’s what really matters.”¬†Altuve originally suffered the injury sliding into second base in July. It sent him to the disabled list for the first time in his MLB career. The 28-year-old Altuve is currently in the very early stages of his rehab work, but he is able to walk under his own power while using a knee brace.Marwin Gonzalez, who played second base in the ALCS while Altuve was limited to DH duty, is currently a free agent and could very well sign with another team. Tony Kemp has some second base experience and could be Plan B next year should Altuve’s start to the season be slowed by the knee surgery. Most likely, Houston will acquire a new utility guy over the winter.

Overall, Altuve authored a .316/.386/.451 batting line with 29 doubles and 13 homers in 2018. That is obviously very good (it earned him another Silver Slugger honor), but it represents a noticeable step down from his MVP season in 2017. Altuve hit .329/.392/.464 before the knee injury and .279/.366/.409 after the knee injury this past season.

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