BALTIMORE — Troy Tulowitzki said he felt his left calf grab when he popped up in the second inning Wednesday, then felt it again as he left the batter’s box.
Still, he took the field in the top of the third hoping for the best.
But after moving around on the calf during that half-inning, Tulowitzki said Thursday morning, “I knew I was in a little bit of trouble.”
And so the shortstop ended up as the 11th Yankee to hit the injured list, placed there with a left calf strain.
Tulowitzki, who missed all of 2018 while recovering from surgery to remove bone spurs from both heels and played in only 66 games in 2017 because of various ailments, said he was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain.
“I’ll be down for a couple days to see [if] the soreness goes away,” he said. “Hopefully not too long.’’
Of the slew of early-season injuries, Tulowitzki smiled wearily.
“It’s really been crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, but like I’ve shared with the guys, it’s never easy. Sometimes it makes your team a little bit better. Builds some character, too.”
Tulowitzki’s injury gave a big-league opportunity to infield prospect Thairo Estrada, 23, far sooner than had been anticipated.
Estrada spent a good portion of last season recovering from a gunshot wound in his right thigh area that occurred during a robbery attempt in his hometown of Bejuma, Venezuela, in January 2018. Other injuries cropped up during the year and he was limited to a combined 18 games for Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Estrada was slated to start the season with Scranton until Tulowitzki’s injury changed everything, sending him from Buffalo to Baltimore.
“Today’s the opening day for Triple-A teams,” Estrada said through his translator. “We were just arriving in Buffalo [Wednesday] after a five-hour bus ride, and as I’m getting off the bus, the manager [Jay Bell] told me, ‘Hey, welcome to the big leagues.’ ”