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AL MVP Jose Altuve cherishes ball from first triple-A hit, which came Sunday during a rehab stint

Jose Altuve got his first major league hit on July 20, 2011, in his debut with the Houston Astros.

In the seven-plus years since then, Altuve has won a Gold Glove and four Silver Slugger awards, claimed the American League batting title three times, was named the 2017 AL MVP and earned a World Series ring.

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On Sunday, during a rehab assignment with the Fresno Grizzlies, Altuve got his first-ever triple-A hit. Think that’s not a big deal to a guy who’s achieved so much during his major league career?

Think again. Altuve held on to that ball — hit in the sixth inning for a line-drive single into right field off Tacoma Rainiers pitcher Bryan Evans — with the intention of adding it to what is surely an already jampacked trophy case.

"I got two first hits this year -- All-Star and triple A," Altuve told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. "I'm really proud."

Altuve, 28, made the jump from double-A Corpus Christi to the Astros in 2011, so Sunday’s game was his first at the triple-A level. He went 1 for 3 during that appearance.

Out with a right knee injury since July 25, Altuve went through a normal pregame routine with the Astros on Monday and is set to be activated from the 10-day disabled list for Tuesday’s game against Seattle. Houston went 8-13 in his absence.

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