The Astros activated Altuve for Wednesday's game against the Reds. The six-time All-Star is hitting third in his first game since suffering a hamstring injury May 10.
Houston optioned left-handed pitcher Cionel Perez to Triple-A Round Rock in a corresponding move.
"It's been forever, but at the same time, it's helped me a lot that the guys have been playing so good and winning a lot of games," Altuve said. "It makes me feel better about not playing."
Altuve is hitting .243 with nine home runs and 21 RBIs this season.
Houston entered play Wednesday with a 48-26 record this season. The first-place Astros have an 8 1/2-game lead over the Texas Rangers in the AL West Division.