Rutledge gets off to quick start in spring opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki's first game since last May 30 -- when groin problems forced him to miss the rest of the season -- was the big Rockies story Saturday. But Josh Rutledge, who stood in for Tulowitzki last season, grabbed the headlines.

Rutledge, who hit well enough as a rookie shortstop to get the inside track at second base, had three hits and four RBIs in his first three at-bats against the D-backs in the Rockies' 11-2 opening win. They included a two-run single off Joe Paterson and a two-run double in the fourth off David Hernandez.

Rutledge, 23, was in Minor League camp last year, so Saturday was a new experience.

"This was the first time I've played on this field, so it's great," he said. "I had a lot of fun with those guys. I'm hoping to do some good things this year."

Last year, Tulowitzki and Rutledge sometimes worked together during batting practice, but Tulowitzki was never healthy enough to play. Saturday marked their first game as a middle-infield combination, although they did not have a chance to turn a double play.

"It was good for him to get three hits out of the way," Tulowitzki said. "What a good way to start your spring. He's got a one-up, I guess."

Rutledge hit .274 with eight home runs and 37 RBIs in 73 games last season.