So he took the decision away from his star second baseman, who was involved in a frightening collision with a teammate in the outfield during Tuesday's game against the Cleveland Indians.
"I took it out of his hands by taking him out of the lineup before we got to the ballpark today," Hinch said.
Altuve crashed into right fielder Teoscar Hernandez while the two were chasing a popup in the eighth inning of Houston's 4-2 win. Altuve walked off the field under his own power, and Hinch said last season's AL batting champion banged up his left shoulder.
"I feel good, way better than I thought I would," Altuve said. "My shoulder is feeling good. A.J. said it would be better if I got a day off, and he's the manager of the team -- and he does it real good."
Hinch said sitting Altuve was precautionary, and that he would be available if the situation arose.
Hernandez, who was carted off the field with a bruised left leg, was placed on the 10-day disabled.
Hernandez had been called up from Triple-A Fresno earlier Tuesday to replace outfielder Jake Marisnick, who was placed on the seven-day concussion list. Outfielder Tony Kemp was called up from Fresno to take Hernandez's roster spot.
"It's just a bruise, no fracture," Hernandez said. "It is much better today. I'm sore, but I'm surprised -- and so is everyone else -- with how much better I feel."
Outfielder George Springer didn't start for the third straight game because of a strained left hamstring. He replaced Hernandez after the collision.
Marwin Gonzalez was playing second base Wednesday night and batting ninth.