Troy Tulowitzki was feeling on top of the world after a fabulous first season that netted him a rich new contract.
Now, the Colorado Rockies' slick-fielding shortstop is wondering why he can't catch a break. He started the season mired in a slump and then tore a tendon in his left quadriceps Tuesday night -- an injury that could sideline him until the All-Star break.
"Sometimes you ask yourself, 'Why is this happening?"' Tulowitzki said before Colorado's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night. "It just goes to show, never get too high."
Tulowitzki doesn't think surgery will be necessary. But he's not sure how long he'll be sidelined, either.
"I don't think anybody knows at this point and time," Tulowitzki said. "Time will tell.
"For me, it's going to be tougher mentally than it is actually on my leg," Tulowitzki continued. "Just watching my teammates, that's going to be tough. Coming to the field every day and knowing that I'm not going to play is going to be the toughest thing for me to deal with."
Tulowitzki injured his quad while charging a grounder in the first inning at San Francisco. He felt a "tweak" as he tried to make an off-balance throw.
He remained in the game since he was already filling in for Jeff Baker, who burst a blood vessel in the middle finger of his right hand in batting practice.
Yet Tulowitzki doesn't think he did more damage by not coming out immediately.
"It was already pretty messed up," he said.
The 23-year-old Tulowitzki injured the same quad muscle while playing for Single-A Modesto in 2005. He said it wasn't the same injury -- this one was higher up on the quad.
"It's obviously sore," said Tulowitzki, who underwent an MRI exam on Wednesday, which found a complete tear of the tendon near his hip. "I'm able to walk and people are surprised with that. I'm getting around OK."
Clint Barmes, who will take Tulowitzki's place at shortstop, knows the feeling. He was having a stellar rookie season in 2005 when he suffered a broken left collarbone when he fell carrying deer meat up a flight of stairs.
"It's not easy," Barmes said. "He'll be fine."
With Barmes at shortstop and Baker still nursing a sore hand, the Rockies may platoon Omar Quintanilla and rookie Jonathan Herrera at second.
"It's tough what happened to Troy," Quintanilla said. "There's nothing we can do but wait and hope he heals well and quickly. The same for Jeff Baker. That's where I come in. I have the opportunity to make a contribution and I have to make the most of it until they come back."
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said being without Tulowitzki will be a "challenge for the club." Colorado has struggled on offense this season, hitting just .248 coming into Friday night.
"The key is to unlock the lock on the offense," Hurdle said.
Colorado rewarded Tulowitzki's sensational rookie season with a $31 million, six-year deal in the offseason. Tulowitzki helped the Rockies to their first NL pennant with his reliable fielding and clutch hitting.
Tulowitzki led big league shortstops in fielding percentage, and also set an NL rookie record for home runs by a shortstop (24) and batted .291 with 99 RBIs.
He was struggling to open the season, hitting just .152 with one homer and 11 RBIs in 105 at-bats, when he got hurt.
"Coming off my rookie year and obviously signing the contract, it seemed like it's the highest it can get, and everything was going great," Tulowitzki said. "To start off slow and have this injury, it's tough. But I think it's all happening for a reason."