Jose Altuve to be held out of season finale with league-leading .340 batting average

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UPDATE, 12:38 p.m. ET: Scratch that. Altuve has now been added to the starting lineup for Sunday’s game.

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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle breaks it down:

Jose Altuve is starting the day on the bench with the Astros’ first batting title riding on the line.

With 157 games played already and an 0-for-4 performance on Saturday, Altuve appears to be banking that the Detroit Tigers’ Victor Martinez won’t have the multi-hit day needed to catch him.

Altuve boasts a .340 batting average in 656 at-bats this season. Martinez sits at .337 through 558 at-bats.

V-Mart needs to go 3-for-3 (or 4-for-4) on Sunday against the Twins to catch Altuve. The Tigers would take that, as they’re trying to fend off the Royals and wrap up their fourth straight American League Central championship. A loss by Detroit and a win by Kansas City would set up a Game 163 tiebreaker.

Altuve made it known to reporters Sunday morning that this was not his decision. The call was made by Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and interim manager Tom Lawless. “I wanted to play,” Altuve said. “It wasn’t up to me.” Altuve was told he would sit in a meeting with Luhnow, Lawless, and “three other people I don’t know.”

MORE FROM HARDBALLTALK: Jose Altuve has the most hits by a second baseman in 78 years

Angels release Matt Harvey

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Among several transactions made on Sunday, the Angels announced that pitcher Matt Harvey has been released. The right-hander was designated for assignment on Friday.

Harvey, 30, was hoping to bounce back with the Angels after signing a one-year, $11 million contract in December. It didn’t work out. In 12 starts spanning 59 2/3 innings, Harvey allowed 47 earned runs on 63 hits and 29 walks with 39 strikeouts. Harvey missed time between May 24 and July 12 with an upper back injury.

Since his 2015 campaign with the Mets, after recovering from Tommy John surgery, Harvey has a 5.65 ERA in exactly 400 innings. Given his age, he could still find an opportunity with another team short on pitching depth, but he is running out of leash, as they say.