Troy Tulowitzki said he felt "blindsided" to learn he’d been traded to Toronto after 10 seasons with the Colorado Rockies.
"I’m still shocked," Tulowitzki said Wednesday, a day after he was dealt to the Blue Jays. "When I walk into a clubhouse and it’s not purple, it’s different for me."
Getting back on the field should calm things down a little for the five-time All-Star shortstop.
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"To get one game under my belt, I keep telling people, is going to be huge," he said.
Tulowitzki was to lead off against Philadelphia’s Jerome Williams in his Blue Jays debut Wednesday night. He was traded along with right-hander LaTroy Hawkins for former All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes and three pitching prospects.
"He’s a guy that maybe gives us a big jolt," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Tulowitzki has just five big league at-bats as a leadoff hitter, but Toronto has a vacancy there after trading Reyes and seeing his replacement, second baseman Devon Travis, leave Tuesday’s loss to the Phillies after two innings with a sore left shoulder. Ryan Goins was starting at second base and batting ninth Wednesday.
Gibbons said Tulowitzki likely will lead off as long as Travis is unavailable. The rookie infielder was to be evaluated again Thursday.
Slugger Jose Bautista, who left Tuesday’s game in the ninth with cramps in his right hamstring, was the designated hitter Wednesday. Bautista is expected to return to the outfield on Thursday.
Tulowitzki said he had no idea a trade was imminent until he was removed in the ninth inning of Monday’s loss at the Chicago Cubs.
"I had never really been taken out of a game that I wasn’t injured, so I knew something was off," Tulowitzki said.
He had expected more advance notice from the only organization he had played for.
"Ownership and myself had talked numerous times," Tulowitzki said. "I thought there would be a little bit more of a heads up than there was."
Instead, the news was delivered in the visiting manager’s office at Wrigley Field, where Tulowitzki had his first conversation with Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
"He probably thought I was upset because I was in shock, but I think I was more upset on the Rockies’ end," Tulowitzki said. "I was told that if anything were to get serious, they would definitely pull me to the side. That’s why it ended a little bittersweet for myself, because of the way it was handled."
Tulowitzki’s wife and infant son joined him in Toronto.
He left a team than had not won more than 74 games in any of the past four seasons to join a contender in the AL wild-card race, one that boasts the highest-scoring offense in the major leagues.
"What you play this game for is to win, and there’s a great possibility here that that can happen, and very soon," Tulowitzki said. "I know they’re in win-now mode so that excites me."
Toronto designated left-hander Felix Doubront for assignment to clear a roster spot for Tulowitzki. Doubront was 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in five games.
"It was kind of hit and miss with him," Gibbons said.