Rockies rest slumping Tulowitzki
Barmes fills in at shortstop as infielder works on hitting
DENVER -- Troy Tulowitkzi's Monday was a work day, even if it looked like a day off.
Because of the Rockies shortstop's .167 batting average with a team-leading 17 strikeouts in his first 17 contests, and his current 0-for-19 skid, Tulowitzki was not in the starting lineup against the Padres.
"It's pretty obvious I haven't been swinging the bat well," Tulowitzki said. "Defensively, I'm doing all right out there. But at the same time, the coaches always say they are going to put the best lineup out to win, and I think this is our best lineup. I think me having a day will be good for me to get things going in the right direction."
When Tulowitzki, who is in his third Major League season, will return to the lineup is unclear. Manager Clint Hurdle said he and hitting coach Don Baylor are working with Tulowitzki. It's an intense project. It started with Tulowitzki studying videotape and taking an indoor batting practice session Monday.
"We've all got to find a way to help him put a foot down on this thing," Hurdle said. "We've set up a little plan in which to work, consistent work inside and some maintenance work. We're going to get him back in sooner than later to see where we are with it."
Of course, it could simply be that April will always be cruel to Tulowtizki, who has struggled on and off since signing a six-year, $31 million contract before last season. Counting this year, Tulowtizki his hit .187 in 65 April games.
Hurdle outlined some of Tulowitzki's issues. He is swinging too hard. The Rockies generally want their hitters to drive pitches the opposite way, and Tulowitzki is trying to follow that plan, but Hurdle said it is time to come to grips with the fact Tulowitzki is a pull hitter. The high fastball is giving him problems, as it has whenever he has slumped in the past.
Add all that to the fact Tulowitzki is 2-for-10 with two walks and six strikeouts against Padres right-hander Chris Young, and Monday seemed like a good time for him to rest.
There are some positive signs. Tulowitzki has had a three-walk game and a four-walk game. He'd never walked more than twice in a game before this season.
"It's a frustrating game, especially when you fail more times than you succeed," Tulowitzki said. "I have been here before, and I know that I can get back out of it again. It's just a matter of when."
Tulowtizki's benching meant Clint Barmes moved from second base to shortstop, and Hurdle found a way to get more at-bats for the productive Ian Stewart (.270, three homers, eight RBIs), who started at second base.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.