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Cautious Rockies sit Tulo one more game

MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was dashing along the grass at AT&T Park early Friday afternoon, feeling almost as good as he looked. But almost wasn't good enough for the Rockies.

After originally having him in the lineup, manager Walt Weiss scratched him for Friday night's opener of a three-game set with the Giants. Pressed when asked, Tulowitzki, who sat out Wednesday afternoon's 10-4 victory over the White Sox and was off with the club Thursday, admitted slight tightness in the right quadriceps. It's an issue that has flared this week.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was dashing along the grass at AT&T Park early Friday afternoon, feeling almost as good as he looked. But almost wasn't good enough for the Rockies.

After originally having him in the lineup, manager Walt Weiss scratched him for Friday night's opener of a three-game set with the Giants. Pressed when asked, Tulowitzki, who sat out Wednesday afternoon's 10-4 victory over the White Sox and was off with the club Thursday, admitted slight tightness in the right quadriceps. It's an issue that has flared this week.

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Tulowitzki, who pinch-hit in the ninth inning Friday and struck out looking to end a 6-5 loss, said he expects to play in day games against the Giants on Saturday and Sunday.

"I was trying to get loose, trying to get a feel for it," Tulowitzki said. "I definitely feel a lot better, with those two days off. I definitely feel better, so I was happy about that. They made the decision on the feedback I gave them. I went in and talked to them and told them I definitely feel better, but with the day game coming up tomorrow they are going to play this thing safe."

The Rockies' decision to remove Tulowitzki was a hot topic for fans on social media, but it's a continuation of a pattern the Rockies began last year of being cautious with Tulowitzki early in the season. Tulowitzki was coming off surgery to remove scar tissue from his left groin and had a history of leg muscle issues, so he was rested whenever there was tightness. His time-loss injury last year was a broken rib he suffered diving for a grounder. But by taking days off and not overextending when running the bases, Tulowitzki staved off the leg muscle problems.

He missed 25 games with the broken rib and started 119 of the other 137 games -- nearly 89 percent. If he manages to avoid the disabled list this year and plays at the rate of last year, minus the injury time, he'll make roughly 141 starts. If he'd made that many last year, he'd have finished 13th among shortstops in the Majors and eighth in the National League. As it turned out, he was 18th in the Majors and ninth in the NL.

"A couple games is too much for me because I want to be out there as much as I can," Tulowitzki said. "But you look around the league and there are a lot of shortstops that take days here and there, even the younger guys. I saw [Andrelton] Simmons with the Braves because of his wrist and some other guys. It's unfortunate but it's taking precaution."

Last season, just five shortstops in the Majors exceeded 155 starts and seven started at least 150. Weiss' plan to start Tulowitzki in the 140-145 range (he plans the same with left fielder Carlos Gonzalez) is not far out of line with the modern game. The cases of Tulowitzki and Gonzalez are tied to health, but many cases are based on stats against given pitchers.

"I think it's case by case; you can't make a blanket statement whether it's one or the other," Weiss said. "It's based on the individual you're dealing with. If it's some injury history, that's a factor. Some guys have pretty obvious platoon splits."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.

 

Colorado Rockies, Troy Tulowitzki