Rockies' Tulowitzki has mild quad strain
DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies juggled their lineup against Philadelphia with Carlos Gonzalez out of the country, Troy Tulowitzki day to day with a strained thigh muscle, Brad Hawpe back from an injury and Todd Helton getting a mental break.
The best news for the Rockies was that Monday's MRI on Tulowitzki revealed only a minor strain of his right quadriceps. Manager Jim Tracy says the shortstop won't need to go on the disabled list but will rest for a couple of days.
"He's a little sore today," Tracy said before Colorado hosted the Phillies. "We're not going to take any chances with that.
"It's a day-to-day type thing. It's not a disabled list situation, but we need to be cautious with it," the manager added. "What you don't want to do is rush him back to the point where it now becomes a nagging thing that he's playing with 10 or 12 days and we actually set him back further."
That's in contrast to 2008, when Clint Hurdle was the manager and Tulowitzki was allowed to play through pain in his left quadriceps and ended up missing 46 games when he ultimately tore a ligament in the thigh.
He also missed a month in the minors in 2005 with a strained quadriceps. Both of those previous injuries were to his left leg, not his right.
Tulowitzki was injured Sunday in Los Angels when he was attempting a double-play relay.
The Dodgers' Jamey Carroll grounded to pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who wheeled to throw to second. Tulowitzki avoided Blake DeWitt but his relay throw wasn't in time. Tulowitzki took an awkward step on the play, in part because he was screened on the throw by second-base umpire Gary Darling.
Tracy also shook things up at first base, where Helton is in a power slump -- he has just four extra-base hits in 100 at-bats, all of them doubles -- and Jason Giambi has been unable to find a groove at the plate in limited pinch-hitting duty.
"I think it's good that we get Todd a break today. I think it's also very important that we get Jason Giambi in the lineup and get him involved against someone other than a dominant closer," Tracy said.
Helton has no homers and just seven RBIs in the slowest start of his career.
"It's not easy being Todd Helton," Tracy insisted. "It's really hard to be Todd Helton because everybody expects the unbelievable from him every single day. So, it's really, really hard to be Todd Helton. And if you understand that fact, you're mindful that every once in a while it's really great to give this guy an opportunity to take a step back and catch his breath and mentally relax and then resume. He's a human being. He's not a robot."
Giambi re-signed with Colorado after failing to find a DH role with an American League team this offseason, but his opportunities have been few and far between, and his own slow start has raised some eyebrows and questions that have irked Tracy.
"We need to bear in mind the fact that he has all of 22 at-bats. We're in the fifth week of the season. And he's accustomed to having 22 at-bats within three to four days of the season," Tracy said.
Giambi will get plenty of time to find his swing. Tracy wants to use him in the DH role during an interleague series at Kansas City later this month.
"I think we need to give him a series of at-bats in fairness to this guy and what he's done during the course of his career before we'll really know" where he's at as a hitter, Tracy said. "Knowing the reputation and the resume of the player, he's one swing away."
Hawpe returned from the 15-day disabled list but the Rockies didn't have to send anyone to the minors to make room for him because they placed Gonzalez on the three-day bereavement list. Gonzalez is attending the funeral of an uncle in Venezuela.
He'll return to action Wednesday, when pitcher Jason Hammel (strained right groin) returns from the DL and starts the series finale.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press