Fowler injures hip flexor, hopes to return Saturday

Fowler injures hip flexor, hopes to return Saturday

DENVER -- Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler limped off the field on Friday and was removed in the fourth inning of a 7-4, 10-inning loss to the Rays after colliding with Rays first baseman Sean Rodriguez and suffering right hip flexor soreness.

"I probably could have stayed in the game, but they said it was a precaution, so I came out," said Fowler, who hopes to play Saturday. However, Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger will make that call.

Fowler extended his hit streak to a career-best 11 games with a first-inning single. With the Rockies leading, 3-2, in the fourth, Fowler bunted after Rays pitcher Matt Moore walked Jonathan Herrera and Jeff Francis. When he arrived at first, Rodriguez had awkwardly scrambled to the bag. As Fowler arrived, his left hip bumped into Rodriguez's leg.

"I just landed weird," Fowler said. "It's fine. It just tightened up on me. I knew it wasn't that serious. I just tweaked it a little bit."

Fowler is off to the best start of his career, hitting .310 with eight home runs and 15 RBIs. With such strong numbers, the decision to bunt was questioned. Fowler said he was acting on his own, not on orders from manager Walt Weiss, who gives him freedom. The bunt did not go past Moore and give him a chance to reach first base, but he thought moving the runners was a worthy fallback.

"That was my call," Fowler said. "Walt didn't have anything to do with that. You have two runners in scoring position, you're facing one of the best pitchers in the game. We get those two runs in and it's a different ballgame. Sometimes you have to take one for the team."

Eric Young Jr. replaced Fowler in center field, and struck out in all three of his at-bats, including one with the bases loaded against Jake McGee in the eighth and one with runners on second and third in the 10th against Fernando Rodney to end the game.

"Tonight I didn't have my best stuff," Young said. "Fortunately, we have another game tomorrow. That's why they call the season a grind."

The Rockies decided before the game not to start shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who felt tightness in his leg. Tulowitzki missed most of last season because of a left groin injury that required surgery to remove scar tissue. Tulowitzki came up as a pinch-hitter with two on and one out in the eighth, and Rays manager Joe Maddon walked him intentionally. He was removed for a pinch-runner.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for 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.