The reigning American League MVP sat out the series opener against the Texas Rangers on Friday and wasn't in the lineup for Saturday's 7-3 home loss to Texas after leaving Wednesday's game with a sore right knee.
"The doctor checked out my knee and he felt it was better that I go on the DL," Altuve said.
The move is retroactive to Thursday, and the Astros say a corresponding move to fill their 25-man roster will be made on Sunday. It is Altuve's first stint on the disabled list in his eight-year career in the majors.
"It's my first time in my career, so I'm not really happy about it," Altuve said.
Astros manager AJ Hinch said after Friday's game that Altuve was "still pretty sore" and it was predetermined that he would be held out of the lineup again on Saturday as a precautionary measure.
Altuve is hitting a team-leading .329 with nine home runs and 46 RBIs in 104 games.