Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was lifted from Friday’s rain-shortened game against the Blue Jays with a groin strain and is not in the starting lineup Saturday. According to Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post, he could be out all weekend.
Tulo’s groin injury is not thought to be overly serious, but the Rox are taking every precaution to ensure that it doesn’t turn into a long-lasting issue.
“It’s a wait-and-see-type thing, just due to the conditions we’re
dealing with right now and the potential softness of the field,” Colorado manager Jim Tracy said Saturday. “It’s the wisest thing to do. You ask yourself the question: One
day or two vs. a 15-day disabled-list situation? Without Troy
Tulowitzki in our lineup, I don’t like the prospects.”
Clint Barmes started at shortstop Saturday and is likely to do the same on Sunday. He’s batting .216 with a .272 on-base percentage and a .352 slugging percentage this season in 176 at-bats. Tulowitzki is hitting .307/.373/.489 with eight home runs and 32 RBI in 225 at-bats.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.
Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.