05/04/2013 10:05 PM ET
Tulo errs on side of caution regarding his legs
Rockies shortstop learns to be smarter when it comes to playing through injuries
By Jack Etkin / Special to MLB.com
DENVER -- Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was back in the Rockies' lineup on Saturday after a one-day absence, when he said his legs felt "a little heavy" on Friday. He did pinch-hit in the eighth inning of a 7-4 loss to the Rays and was lifted for a pinch-runner after being intentionally walked.
Tulowitzki did not play last Monday and Tuesday at Los Angeles due to a left shoulder strain, sustained on an awkward slide home on Sunday. He did play on Wednesday against the Dodgers -- going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. The Rockies were off Thursday before opening their series with the Rays.
"I don't know if it's because I took two days off and then back on the field full go, if my legs got a little tired on me," Tulowitzki said. "Maybe coming back here [to the high altitude at Coors Field] played a part in it. I felt fatigued. And they told me from Day one to be straight up with them about everything that early on. If I did feel anything, they were going to play on the safe side. I think that's what happened [Friday].
"Yesterday was tough for me to take, but today I do feel better. Now I'm happy about that."
Tulowitzki, 28, saw his 2012 season end after 47 games on May 30 due to a strained left groin that required surgery on June 21 to remove scar tissue on a nerve in the groin area. In 2008, he strained his left quadriceps on an off-balance throw on April 29, and two batters later suffered a tendon tear in the quadriceps that caused him to miss 46 games.
With his history, Tulowitzki has learned the need to be smarter when it comes to trying to play through leg injuries.
"I think there was times early on in my career, where if I had a day like yesterday, I was for sure throwing myself out there," he said. "And I think I got myself in trouble at times."
The soreness he felt on Friday was in the upper area of his legs. But Tulowitzki said he has no lingering concerns about re-injuring his groin.
"When I've been out there, I've been feeling good," he said. "So that proves to me that I am healthy. I just think that I have to be smart about this thing."
Weiss holds Fowler out of Saturday's lineup
DENVER -- Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler was not in the lineup on Saturday against the Rays.
Fowler did not take the field in the fifth inning on Friday after trying to bunt for a hit in the fourth and ending up with right hip flexor soreness as he tried to avoid a collision with Rays first baseman Sean Rodriguez.
Asked how he felt on Saturday afternoon, Fowler said, "Better. I'm sure I'll be all right. I'll live."
Rockies manager Walt Weiss held Fowler out of the lineup and not simply for precautionary reasons.
"He's sore enough that it was pretty clear-cut for me," Weiss said.
Weiss expected Fowler would be "pretty sore" on Saturday.
"He's doing OK," Weiss said. "I don't think it'll be too long. But we're going to keep him out of there [Saturday]."
Chacin set to be activated for Sunday's start
DENVER -- Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Sunday and will be activated to start the series finale against the Rays.
Chacin worked 6 1/3 scoreless innings on April 19 against the D-backs, but had to leave the game with a strain on the left side of his back following his 100th pitch.
Chacin has been the Rockies' best pitcher this season, going 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA in four starts. Opponents are hitting .193 against the right-hander, including an average of .128 (6-for-47) by right-handed hitters and .278 (10-for-36) by lefties. Chacin has six walks and 16 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings.
"His changeup and his slider were real good," manager Walt Weiss said. "And he had fastball command, which is big for Jhoulys. His changeup is a plus, plus pitch, the fact that he can throw it to right-handers, he can throw it to left-handers regardless of the count, to get him back in counts, to finish hitters. I think that's been one of the keys for him.
"His arm speed on his changeup has been really good. The other secondary pitch he's got is his slider, which has been really good. He's had it all working early on."
Weiss said a corresponding roster move will be announced after Saturday night's game or on Sunday morning.
Tyler Chatwood started twice in place of Chacin and could be kept if the Rockies decide that Juan Nicasio would benefit from time at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Nicasio has thrown five or fewer innings in five straight starts, and in four of them, he has thrown between 92 and 95 pitches. Nicasio's next turn in the rotation would be Wednesday against the Yankees.
Rutledge making rounds in Rockies' order
DENVER -- Rockies infielder Josh Rutledge batted seventh on Friday night and was in the second spot on Saturday, not unusual for the 24-year-old second baseman, who is in his first full season in the Major Leagues.
In 26 starts, Rutledge has batted second 13 times, six times in the seventh spot, five times in the six-hole and twice in the No. 8 spot. Manager Walt Weiss said batting eighth "doesn't necessarily play into his strengths," because Rutledge tends to have quick at-bats and isn't as patient as is desired for a No. 8 hitter, whom the opposing pitcher is trying to expand the strike zone for with the pitcher coming up next.
Rutledge first batted eighth on April 28 and before that game, Weiss, who was speaking from experience, said:
"I brought him in and talked to him about the approach of hitting eighth in the National League. There's a lot to think about. I told him not to out-think it. He's still got to be himself even if he's hitting in that spot. But there are some things to be aware of when you're hitting there and I just wanted to communicate that to him.
"He'll bounce around a little bit in our lineup because he's a versatile guy. There's some pop in the bat, but he runs well. You can hit and run with him. So he's a guy in our lineup that might bounce around maybe more so than some of the other guys."
Rutledge went hitless in four at-bats the first time he hit eighth, but went 3-for-4 with a homer in that spot on Wednesday against the Dodgers. Rutledge entered Saturday having gone 8-for-18 in his previous four games with one double, one homer, three RBIs and three runs scored.
• Rockies first baseman Todd Helton (left forearm strain) is expected to be activated on Sunday when he is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list. He has played in 209 career Interleague games, which is the 10th most among active players. He has hit .301 in those games with 25 home runs.
Jack Etkin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.