Tulowitzki happy with MRI but sits out vs Yankees

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.

AP Sports Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton can be reached at
http://twitter.com/arniestapleton