Tulowitzki knocked out of game

Troy Tulowitzki, a key figure in the Blue Jays’ renaissance the past two months, had to come out of the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Yankee Stadium in the third inning after colliding with center fielder Kevin Pillar.

Tulowitzki was tracking a pop fly to shallow center field by Didi Gregorius and made the catch for the third out of the second inning in front of a charging Pillar, who ran into the shortstop. Tulowitzki dropped the ball from his glove and then fell to the ground on his back and stretched his legs into the air. He lay on the field for several minutes and was attended to by a trainer before he walked off the field under his own power.

When Toronto took the field again in the bottom of the third inning, Tulowitzki did not join his teammates. Cliff Pennington entered the game at second base with Ryan Goins moving to shortstop.

X-rays of Tulowitzki’s chest and ribs were negative, but an MRI exam revealed upper back muscle bruises and a small crack in his left shoulder blade.

Tulowitzki and relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins came to Toronto July 28 in a trade from Colorado that involved shortstop Jose Reyes going to the Rockies. Tulowitzki, who struck out in his only at-bat Saturday, is hitting .232 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 38 games and 155 at-bats since the trade, and the Blue Jays have a 29-8 record when he is in the starting lineup. Toronto was in third place in the American League East and eight games behind the first-place Yankees the day of the Tulowitzki trade and entered play Saturday in first place in the division with a 2 1/2-game lead over the Yanks.

Tulowitzki has had a checkered history of health issues. In his 10 seasons in the major leagues, he has played more than 150 games only once. Saturday was his 126th game this season. The Blue Jays have 21 games remaining so he won’t get to 150 this year, either.

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