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Tulo handles defensive test behind sharp Volstad, Rox


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was tested a little more Monday afternoon in his second Cactus League appearance than his first. He passed.

Tulowitzki, who missed much of last season with a left groin injury that required surgery, delivered a two-run single and handled a variety of defensive chances with ease and flair in the Rockies' 9-1 victory over the Rangers at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

"Today was a good example of two-out RBIs," Tulowitzki said. "We've been preaching that."

In Saturday's opener against the D-backs, Tulowitzki, who appeared in just 47 games last season, went 1-for-2 and didn't have a defensive chance. This time, he handled a popup and participated in a rundown in the first inning, and fielded two ground balls. On the second grounder, he had to charge and make a quick glove-to-throw transfer to retire speedy Craig Gentry. Tulowitzki left after his two-run single off Justin Grimm in the bottom of the third.

"Gentry is a fast runner," Tulowitzki said. "I'm just trying to make it as much instinct as possible -- not thinking before I move. I think I did a good job on that ball."

Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler added an RBI triple in the fifth against former Rockies farmhand Koty Woods. Eric Young Jr. singled, walked and scored twice. Additionally, Rockies starter Chris Volstad, trying to earn the fifth-starter spot as a non-roster invitee, gave up two hits and forced two double plays in two scoreless innings.

Rangers starter Martin Perez outpitched Grimm in an early faceoff for the fifth-starter slot. Perez struck out two during two perfect innings. Grimm gave up Charlie Blackmon's leadoff double and three more hits, including Tulowitzki's, in the Rockies' three-run third inning. Grimm walked one in a scoreless fourth.

"I thought I threw the ball well," Perez said. "The first couple of pitches, I was overthrowing, but I caught myself and made a quick adjustment."

Up next: Two key starters who missed considerable time with injuries last year -- righty Jhoulys Chacin and lefty Jorge De La Rosa -- will make their spring debuts against the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz., on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. MT. Chacin was limited to 15 starts because of a nerve issue in his chest, but finished the year strong. Chacin also pitched in winter ball, and he will soon represent Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. De La Rosa's comeback from Tommy John surgery in 2011 took much longer than expected, and he made just three starts at the end of the '12 campaign.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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