Tulowitzki homers in Rockies' 10-6 loss to Padres
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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Troy Tulowitzki finally homered to drive in his first run of the spring Tuesday night in the Colorado Rockies' 10-6 loss to the San Diego Padres.
The Colorado shortstop said his spring numbers have little bearing on what he tries to accomplish during the exhibition season. He also is aware it's a luxury he is afforded because of his five-plus years of service time and the 10-year, $157.75 million contract he signed before last season.
"It's different from when I was young and trying to make a team where you have to have some results," Tulowitzki said. "It really doesn't matter if I've got no hits. I'm going to make the team. You don't worry about it. You worry about controlling the game at the highest level and that's when you become a real good player."
Though he carried a .364 average into Tuesday, Tulowitzki only described his 22 at-bats this spring as having gone "OK."
But he was pleased with his three trips to the plate against the Padres, including his first-inning solo home run off Joe Wieland. Tulowitzki lined a 0-1 fastball over the fence in left-center.
Tulowitzki later grounded out to third base and popped out to third.
"I've had great springs and not very good seasons and I've had terrible springs and great seasons," Tulowitzki said. "At this point in your career, you're working on a process more than you are results. I've felt OK, not great. Tonight, I was happy with my quality of at-bats. I felt more in control and that's all you're really working on."
Padres outfielder Will Venable has worked all offseason with new hitting coach Phil Plantier on a consistent approach at the plate. Venable went 3 for 4 with a double, two singles and two runs. He also stole a pair of bases and raised his spring average to .364.
"The setup and stance is the same all spring," Padres manager Bud Black said. "The consistency is there. He's seeing the ball better. He's laying off borderline pitches. He's swinging at strikes and taking balls. That's something he has to continue to do. I think he has found some consistency."
Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez left with a left knee contusion after he was hit by a pitch in the second inning. Hernandez said he was sore and expects to have a bruise, but isn't concerned about long-term damage.
Hernandez, who signed a two-year deal worth $6.4 million with Colorado on Nov. 30, hit .282 with 12 homers and 36 RBIs in 91 games for Cincinnati last season.
Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin gave up three runs, seven hits and walked two in three innings.
Chacin, 11-14 with a 3.62 ERA in 31 starts last season, struck out two. One of Colorado's top three starters, Chacin left his previous start with a blister on his right index finger. But the blister didn't factor into Chacin's troubles against the Padres.
"I felt a bit stronger," Chacin said. "But I was leaving all the pitches up. I just have to work on more of a downhill plane. I'm not going to change anything. I just have to keep working and keep it down."
Updated March 21, 2012