HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Astros (19-18) would like to get their lifetime .307 hitter, Jose Altuve, back in the lineup soon.
After all, the 'Stros, who are also dealing with injuries in their starting pitching rotation, currently sit in the American League's bottom third in runs scored entering their weekend series in Chicago against the White Sox. So, run production is a must.
But fans may take some joy in knowing Altuve, 33, who suffered a broken right thumb before the season and hasn't been in the lineup so far in 2023, is going to get the key reps in for a return to the club.
Houston announced the star second baseman is beginning a rehab assignment with the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, the team's Triple-A affiliate, on Friday, which is 55 days after the injury in a World Baseball Classic game. He was slated to miss eight weeks after surgery.
The rehab stint suddenly became a hot ticket for baseball-hungry folks back at home. The Space Cowboys tweeted a post hyping up the appearance along with a link to their ticket sales.
The game prompted Sugar Land police to warn anyone heading to Constellation Field - especially along Highway 6, US 90 Alternate, University, and Stadium Drive - to plan accordingly before and after each game of the weekend. They pointed to the Sugar Land government website for travel time data.
True to the warning, crowds of fans lined up outside of the ball park well before the 5 p.m. gates open time, as captured above by SkyEye.
SEE ALSO: Jose Altuve burglarized: At least 7 of the Astros star's watches taken in March heist, records show
Elsewhere, Astros leftfielder Michael Brantley reportedly suffered a setback during his own rehab for a surgically-repaired shoulder.
MLB.com reports the club will shut down Brantley, 35, for a while.
"He has some inflammation in his shoulder, so we're going to shut him down for a while to try and get the inflammation out of there," manager Dusty Baker said.
Brantley injured his shoulder last June, had surgery in August and has been rehabbing it since, MLB.com reports.
SEE ALSO: Houston Astros' starting pitcher Luis Garcia to undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2023 season