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Tulo plays key role in blowout, exits early

Rockies star shortstop says removal partly due to leg tightness

DENVER -- The Rockies continued their policy of protecting the legs of three-time All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki by pulling him before the eighth inning of Monday night's 8-1 victory over the White Sox at Coors Field.

Tulowitzki, who has had a history of major leg muscle injuries, hit his first home run of the season, singled and doubled, plus was a key figure in two dazzling defensive plays. But by game's end, he was in the dugout doing stretching exercises with head athletic trainer Keith Dugger.

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Asked about leg tightness, Tulowitzki said "there was some of that going on, but it was also us having a lead. They're just trying to protect me a little bit."

Tulowitzki played in just 47 games in 2012 after undergoing surgery to remove scar tissue from his right groin. Before that, there were groin and quadriceps issues that cost him time.

Last year, Walt Weiss' first as manager, he rested Tulowitzki when he felt tightness in the groin and he didn't have any major leg muscle injuries. It didn't prevent Tulowitzki from suffering a broken rib that cost him time before midseason.

Tulowitzki said the careful early schedule last year "helped me get my legs underneath me and play it safe."

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

Colorado Rockies, Troy Tulowitzki