DENVER (AP) – Troy Tulowitzki was all smiles even with a forced day off.
The shortstop was held out of the Colorado Rockies’ lineup Tuesday night with lingering soreness in his left leg.
Rockies athletic trainer Keith Dugger said Tulowitzki has minor swelling in his left adductor, near the groin. It’s close to the area where he had season-ending surgery last June to remove scar tissues but is unrelated to that injury, Dugger said.
“I know a lot of people might be worried; I’m actually not,” Tulowitzki said. “I’ve done everything I possibly could to control this thing. It’s just kind of crept up on me but I think I’m going to be good and good for the long run.”
Tulowitzki said he thinks he tweaked his left groin lunging for the first base bag in Los Angeles on Wednesday while trying to beat out a double play. He then scored from first on Michael Cuddyer’s double.
Tulowitzki missed the Rockies’ next game before playing two over the weekend. Still feeling heaviness in his left groin, he was sent for an MRI on Colorado’s day off Monday and no tear was found.
Manager Walt Weiss said Tulowitzki would be limited to pinch-hitting duties Tuesday against the New York Yankees but hoped to have him back in the lineup Wednesday night.
“I think that the MRI has calmed me down a little bit and everybody around (me),” Tulowitzki said. “I think what they saw was good news: just a real small strain. Just today get the day off and be available to pinch hit and then be back out there tomorrow, that’s my plan.”
Tulowitzki has been diligent about flexibility exercises so he can stay healthy and off the disabled list this season. When he went down last year, the Rockies plummeted to a franchise-worst 98-loss season.
Tulowitzki is off to a terrific start and said he didn’t think his newfound cautious approach impeded his game at all.
“No, I think if anything, it’s helped my play,” he said. “You know you can’t go crazy out there, you’ve got to play under control. I think when you’re playing this game under control, you’re a better player. And I think that’s kind of why I’ve gotten off to a hot start. … And like I said, I’ve felt great out there. It’s just something where these last couple of days where it’s just been a little bit sore.”
The Rockies have monitored Tulowitzki’s workload since spring training, giving him spot days off to prevent a recurrence of his leg injuries.
“It’s flared up a little bit, so he’s getting a few more days than normal. But the key is to keep him out there for the long haul,” Weiss said. “We can’t miss chunks of time with him if we’re going to be serious about competing for this division. We’re going to need him out here. So, a day here, a day there we can live with.”
Tulowitzki’s latest leg injury, however, raises questions anew about whether he can remain at shortstop or whether he should move to a position such as third base that would be easier on his body.
That’s something Tulowitzki doesn’t want to hear.
“No matter what position anybody wants to put me at, I’m still going to have to run the bases,” he said. “And shortstop, I think I’m doing a good job out there of being able to field my position and still being one of the better guys defensively. So, when that time comes, we can talk about it. But right now, defensively, this is probably the best I’ve ever felt out there.”
Tulowitzki said he knew there’d be days like this coming back from his operation “and today’s just one of those bumps.”
“Obviously the MRI showed that there was something going on, but nothing major,” Tulowitzki said. “So, I’m happy today, actually.”
He added he was relieved to be able to talk openly about his health.
“Just to be honest with you guys is great, too. Just to come out and say, ‘Hey look this is what’s going on.’ It’s a good feeling instead of just hiding and, say, people trying to cover up for me,” he said. “I’m happy about that, just that I can speak the truth and get it off my chest.”
At least once earlier in his career, he ducked reporters after getting hurt and waited several days before speaking up.
– By Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
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