But the maturing Tulowitzki understood that a temporary bind is more desirable for him and the team than a long-term injury. So Tulowitzki left a game the Rockies needed, and didn't win, after four innings. But it's a long season.
Tulowitzki felt the tightness about halfway down the first-base line when he grounded into a double play to end the fourth inning. Rockies assistant athletic trainer Scotty Gehret examined Tulowitzki's quadriceps, which can be a spot of concern for the shortstop. In 2008, Tulowitzki missed 46 games with a torn tendon in his right quad.
Even being smart and getting out of the game as a precaution doesn't guarantee that the injury wasn't extensive. But Tulowitzki felt he made the right move. The injury in '08 was more extensive, and he had ignored warning signs. This time, he left the game and went for ice and electrostimulation. The Rockies did not call for an MRI exam.
"Just running down the line, it kind of grabbed me a little bit," said Tulowitzki, who has appeared in every game but one this season. "I had some quad things in the past. Tomorrow I'll see if I'm feeling a lot better or if I'm sore."
On Sunday, Gonzalez crashed into the center-field wall at Coors Field while making a catch during a 16-8 loss to the Royals. Gonzalez had knocked a three-run homer a half-inning earlier and had driven in a career single-game high six runs. However, it turned out Gonzalez had a right wrist contusion, and he is considered day-to-day.
After a May in which the Rockies went 8-21 because both Tulowitzki and Gonzalez slumped, either at different times or at the same time, the Rox went 14-13 in June as both began to find their hitting strokes.
Monday's loss, however, dropped the Rockies to 41-44, and any day without either or both is a day when the offense is challenged. Monday's loss was the opener of a seven-game road trip going into the All-Star break.
But Tulowitzki said sitting out games now, no matter how painful, would be the right plan.
"The thing is I've made the mistake of staying in and getting hurt more," Tulowitzki said. "I learned my lesson the hard way. When you feel something, get out of there and miss a game or two, three, four, whatever it is. It's better than missing months."
Tulowitzki said the root of the problem could have been planted a couple of days ago when he turned his ankle. He said it might have forced him to change his gait.
Elected to the All-Star Game by his fellow players for the second straight year, Tulowitzki is hitting .271 and leading the team with 17 home runs and 57 RBIs. Last year, Tulowitzki missed the Midsummer Classic because of a fractured left wrist.