Tulowitzki returns after 'freak accident'

Troy Tulowitzki returns to Colorado Rockies lineup a night after foul ball causes knee injury off bat of Dexter Fowler.

Troy Tulowitzki will think twice before standing on the top step of the dugout again.

A night after a foul ball by teammate Dexter Fowler struck near his left knee, Tulowitzki returned to Colorado's starting lineup Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants despite some soreness in his leg.

Tulowitzki had yet to see a replay of the incident - and isn't sure he'd want to watch one anyway. He said he'll still stand on the dugout steps - something he has done his entire career - before he's on-deck but will certainly do more to shield himself.

''Maybe not like on the top, top step,'' Tulowitzki said. ''I've been standing up there forever. But I guess all it takes is one time.''

Colorado knows the injury to its star shortstop could've been far worse.

Fowler sent a line drive into the Rockies' dugout along first base in the eighth inning of San Francisco's 3-2 victory Monday night. After being examined by athletic trainer Keith Dugger, Tulowitzki stayed in the game and took his turn at-bat.

He reached on an infield single against Javier Lopez but hobbled to the base, clearly in pain. Manager Jim Tracy and Dugger hustled out to first and Tulowitzki was lifted for pinch-runner Chris Nelson. The game was tied 1-1.

''We dodged a serious bullet,'' Tracy said. ''We're probably about three inches away from a shattered kneecap and maybe the end of the season. That's how fortunate we were. Now we were very unfortunate that the batting order came back around and he missed a chance to bat with the bases loaded.''

X-rays taken after the game showed no break or major damage.

Tulowitzki was batting fourth in his usual spot when the lineup card was posted Tuesday. He took batting practice before the game and felt fine enough to remain a starter.

''Just sore. Just like getting hit by a pitch,'' Tulowitzki said, ''but on my knee.''

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