Tulowitzki leaves Rockies' game in first inning with strained left quad

SAN FRANCISCO -- Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki left the game Tuesday night's 3-2 win against San Francisco in the first inning with a strained left quadriceps muscle.

Tulowitzki, a late lineup addition after Jeff Baker was scratched due to a broken blood vessel that happened during pregame warmups, left after bending over to try to stop Aaron Rowand's single. Tulowitzki grimaced and grabbed his left hip and lower back area. He then walked gingerly off the field.

The Rockies' athletic trainer first checked on Tulowitzki after he threw to first base on Eugenio Velez's grounder that was dropped for an error, three batters earlier.

Manager Clint Hurdle had to get creative to have a healthy infield.

Clint Barmes moved from second to shortstop. Garrett Atkins moved from third to make his major league debut at second base, while Chris Iannetta entered the game to play third for the first time in his big league career.

Iannetta then hit a solo home run leading off the second to tie the game at 2.

Tulowitzki finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting last season, hitting .291 with 24 homers and 99 RBIs. He was off to a very slow start, batting .152 with one homer in the his first 25 games.

Meanwhile, the Rockies planned to option starting pitcher Franklin Morales to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Wednesday so the left-hander can work out his struggles.

Morales dropped to 1-2 after losing to the San Francisco Giants on Monday. He gave up four runs and six hits with five walks in only 4 1/3 innings.

"At this point in time there's just some inconsistencies that I don't see getting any better at this level," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's hard to re-create the environment that he needs to be challenged in but this one is providing a various assortment of challenges.

"If we get him out of this environment and into one that he might be able to find a better comfort zone, he can address them one by one and find his way back."

Morales, who excelled as a rookie during the stretch run last season when the Rockies won 21 of 22 games and advanced to the World Series, hasn't been the same pitcher this year. He has a 6.39 ERA, and has allowed 28 hits and 17 walks in 25 1/3 innings. He has struck out nine batters.

Hurdle noted that Morales has had particular problems with his command and velocity.

"There's a number of things that we've continued to address," Hurdle said. "We haven't seen what other people have seen, as far as velocity. Command issues have [also] come and gone."

Colorado also sent right-hander Kip Wells back to Denver to see a hand specialist. Wells walked the only two batters he faced in relief Monday and threw only nine pitches before being removed from the game.

In addition, Hurdle said left-hander Mark Redman will skip his next start because of a day off and will work out of the bullpen until returning to the rotation on May 6. Jeff Francis will take Redman's turn in the rotation and start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.