Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, one of Venezuela’s most popular ballplayers, will not play in the Venezuelan Winter League this year, a person with knowledge of Altuve’s plans said.

Altuve has been a regular on the roster of popular Venezuelan club Magallanes, but the young former All-Star will instead return to Houston in January to begin preparations for the 2014 season.

Altuve’s winter status was a popular topic last week while Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow visited Venezuela to announce a scouting and player development agreement with Venezuelan club Tiburones de La Guaira.

Altuve, an All-Star in 2012, joins 2013 All-Star catcher Jason Castro as the Astros’ two biggest names. In July he signed a $12.5 million, four-year contract extension with two club options that would pay him $6 million in the 2018 and $6.5 million in 2009.