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06/25/08 9:06 PM ET

Quintanilla gets opportunity to start

Backup plays shortstop while Tulowitzki takes a breather

KANSAS CITY -- Every day for the last week Omar Quintanilla had been checking the lineup card and hoping.

He'd been relegated to backup duty since June 20, the day shortstop Troy Tulowitzki returned from the disabled list, and was never sure if he'd get to play.

Quintanilla finally received good news on Wednesday. He started at shortstop, and Tulowitzki got some much-needed rest.

Tulowitzki, who had been on the DL from late April until June 20 with a torn left quadriceps, has struggled since his return. He has just three hits in 20 at-bats since he came back.

Manager Clint Hurdle sees the problem as being with Tulowitzki's style of play. Ever since he's been with Rockies, Tulowitzki's had trouble keeping his play under control.

"Usually when you get in a hurry to do something, you don't do as well as you could," Hurdle said. "But, if you watched him play last year, there was a fast-forward button that was hit, then also a button that you slowed down and a nice game-speed button that he had, especially with his offense."

Before Tulowitzki returned, Quintanilla had regular shortstop duty and excelled. He carried a six-game hitting streak into June 20, going 9-for-21 in that stretch.

But Quintanilla hasn't played since then. He's more worried about his offense going stale than his defense. The only action he's seen at the plate is during batting practice, and he can only hit fastballs during those sessions, not the breaking balls that he'll see during games.

Still, Quintanilla has been swinging as much as possible, taking early batting practice in addition to the regular session over the past few days.

"Now that I'm not playing every day," he said, "the more hitting I can get in, the more it helps. Anything that can help me, I'm going to be out here doing it."

And he'll be waiting every day for that lineup card, too.

"There's no plan," Quintanilla said. "Every day is a new day. I can only expect just to be ready every day because you never know what's going to happen."

Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.