Slumping Tulowitzki gets night off

Slumping Tulowitzki gets night off

DENVER -- The Rockies kept slumping second-year shortstop Troy Tulowitzki out of the lineup for Tuesday night's game with the Phillies, and manager Clint Hurdle didn't shed light on when or at what spot in the order Tulowitzki would return.

Clint Barmes, who has taken the second-base job from original starter Jayson Nix, took Tulowitzki's No. 2 spot and started at short. Jeff Baker batted seventh and played second base in his fourth start of the season, his third at second. Hurdle has said he needs to find playing time for Baker.

Tulowitzki missed a couple of chances to drive in runs during the Rockies' 9-5 loss to the Phillies on Monday night and saw his batting average drop to .165. After finishing second in last year's National League Rookie of the Year voting, Tulowitzki has pressed.

"He's had some challenges," Hurdle said. "It's not the worst thing that's ever going to happen to him. We've got Baker in the lineup, and it's going to be a good thing for him.

"Some of the balances you have as a manager are trying to find ways to get individuals jump-started, and you have to find a way to work the entire 25-man roster, keep them in play and get opportunities to stay sharp."

Hurdle had started Tulowitzki in all but one game this season before making Tuesday's decision. Tulowtizki struggled last April and rebounded after sitting for two straight games.

Also, Tulowitzki has hit second in the lineup for most of the season, but he can be moved. In Friday's 11-5 victory over the Astros, Tulowitzki went 3-for-5, drove in three runs and scored two from the No. 5 spot. Last season, Tulowitzki was effective from the No. 2 (.297, .883 OPS, or on-base plus slugging percentage) spot in 70 games and the No. 7 spot (.294, .804 OPS) in 62 games.

Hurdle declined to share his plan for upcoming games with the media. He also said he didn't talk to Tulowitzki before making his decision.

"I didn't let him know," Hurdle said. "We just put the lineup up today. Sometimes that's the best way. Maybe that'll have a little bit of an impact. But we need more out of our offense. It's a team game. Everybody's involved. We win as a team, we lose as a team. This is a way to get somebody else in play to see if they can give us a spark."

After Monday night's game, Tulowitzki was disappointed but looking to his next chance.

"Every day I come to the ballpark I think today's the day I'm going to break out," he said. "Last year, I started slow. Then again, I was a rookie last year. Now with a year under my belt, I'm starting slow again. Hopefully, I'll turn it around."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.