Just three weeks after returning from a torn thigh tendon that cost him 46 games, the Rockies' enigmatic shortstop sliced his right palm when he pounded his maple bat into the ground in frustration and it shattered. The accident occurred Friday night after he was replaced by Omar Quintanilla in the seventh inning.
"Yeah, it's tougher to take," Tulowitzki said Saturday of his return to the DL. "The other injury was baseball-related. You're out there on the field, going all out. And this one's kind of a stupid injury that I could have prevented."
Maple bats are the subject of a major league investigation because of their tendency to shatter when they break, unlike the softer ash bats, which usually just crack.
"I don't think that matters. I think ash would have done the same thing," he said.
"I looked at the cut and it looked pretty bad," added Tulowitzki, who expects to be out two weeks. "It was a scary moment."
Tulowitzki required 16 stitches, but doctors told him the shards of wood that sliced into his right hand didn't damage any tendons or nerves, he said.
Tulowitzki is hitting just .166 with three home runs and 16 RBIs a year after he led the Rockies to their first World Series with a spectacular rookie season. And he was upset when manager Clint Hurdle yanked him during a double switch with the Rockies trailing Florida 15-12 in a game they went on to win, 18-17.
"I was a little bit frustrated, not at the move. If anything, I thought it was the right move," Tulowitzki said. "I came in the hallway, grabbed a bat, hit it on the ground and the bat exploded in my hand and cut open my palm running up to my index finger."
He called the injury "one of those freak, freak things. And I'm obviously sorry to my teammates because I feel like I'm letting them down more than anything, the organization. Hopefully, it's not too long before I'm out there. But it's tough to take."
Tulowitzki's teammates said they understood his competitive fire just got the best of him.
"It looks kind of stupid, but I understand why he did it. He's a competitor," Yorvit Torrealba said. "He's disappointed, especially when he knows he's better at what he's been showing."
Said Mark Redman: "Things happen in the heat of battle."
Although Tulowitzki kept insisting Hurdle made the right move in taking him out, Tulowitzki also admitted that's precisely what sent him over the edge.
"I think it was just built-up frustration. And then the last thing you want to do in that situation is come out of the game. You feel like your team has a chance. You want to be out there on the field to make a play for them or come up with that big hit," he said.
"I wanted to do that and to not have that opportunity, to be pulled, was frustrating. You want to be out there with your teammates. It wasn't necessarily Clint's move that got me angry. It was more so my performance on the field."
Hurdle vented his own frustration in a meeting with Tulowitzki on Saturday.
"He understands my feelings completely," Hurdle said. "I said what I needed to say to Troy. I don't need to speak about it any other way, other than he's put himself in a challenging position. And now he's got a lesson available to be learned."
"It's definitely a lesson learned," Tulowitzki said. "I need to control myself better. To pound a bat into the ground, it was the wrong thing to do. Next time I'll handle the situation differently. I messed up. I'm willing to take blame for it."
Hurdle said he wasn't going to harp on Tulowitzki's absence: "We'll move on. We're going to focus on what we do have and not on what we don't have."
Hurdle's conversation with Tulowitzki on Saturday apparently centered on getting the most out of his enormous talents. Hurdle was a promising prospect in his own playing days but never lived up to the hype.
"We had a good conversation," Tulowitzki said. "I've talked to him a lot more probably than I had wanted this year. But every time I've talked to him, he's been very supportive. I appreciate that. We definitely [have gone] through some similar things, I guess, to when he played. So, he can kind of relate to me, which is huge.
"He's been nothing but great to me, and I appreciate his support."