DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Rockies can’t replace Troy Tulowitzki, and the season was pretty much toast when he went down. But there is a silver lining to his injury. It gave a kid a chance long before he otherwise might have gotten one, and Josh Rutledge has taken full advantage.
Rutledge has fit in with the Rockies since the moment he joined the team in July. Moment No. 1 came against the great Cliff Lee with his first hit in the majors.
“The first at-bat was definitely a rush. I had to calm myself down a little bit, take some deep breaths,” Rutledge said. “After I got that first at-bat out of the way it started to slow down for me.”
Rutledge ended up with two hits that first night and was the star of the Rockies win against the Phillies.
He started quickly and hasn’t slowed down, hitting well over .300 since being called up from Double-A to replace arguably the Rockies’ best player in Tulowitzki. Rutledge said that was a little bit intimidating.
“He’s definitely got some big shoes to fill playing that position,” Rutledge said. “I’m just doing the best I can to help the team win.”
For now he’s playing shortstop, but everyone knows that’s Tulowitzki’s position. So Rutledge is getting ready to move to second base — hopefully for years to come.
“I think that would be a good combination with us in the middle. I know we just need to continue to keep working hard and get better,” Rutledge said. “I know coming up I’ll probably be getting some reps at second base and we’ll see how that goes.”
“I’m looking for someone who’s going to be with me over there for a long time too,” Tulowitzki said. “I think every single year since I’ve been here I’ve had a different second baseman. Hopefully he’s that guy who’s the answer.”
With the Rockies long out of contention Rutledge hasn’t exactly become a household name. He was referred to as “Jeff” Rutledge in the newspaper this week. But if manager Jim Tracy is right, soon everyone in Colorado will know his name.
“There is everything to love about this guy. There’s nothing not to like. He fits in so well with so many of the other young players we have out there,” Tracy said. “I would say in the case of Josh, have we gone a little bit beyond just scratching the surface? Yes we have. But is there still more there that’s going to show up as we go along? I certainly think that’s the case also.”
Rutledge was 0-4 on Sunday but is still hitting .344.