Blue Jays’ Tulowitzki suffers setback with injured leg

Tulowitzki was released on Tuesday. (Fred Thornhill/CP)

TORONTO — A setback for Troy Tulowitzki threatens to delay the all-star shortstop’s return to the Toronto Blue Jays lineup. Tulowitzki exited an intra-squad game earlier than planned Friday after feeling some discomfort in his injured right leg.

“He just didn’t feel right,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “It’s not like he re-injured it, but just seems a little hesitant or something.”

Tulowitzki, who’s been on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quadriceps since May 28, had been tentatively slated to go to Buffalo Saturday and re-join the Blue Jays Monday for their series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Gibbons had plans to speak to the 31-year-old Friday before determining a course of action, but the timeline for his return is no longer clear.

Tulowitzki first sustained the quad strain stealing second base in New York on May 26. He initially attempted to play through the soreness before deciding to give his legs some rest.

“It’s tough,” he said after being placed on the DL. “You could rest it and maybe get better in a week or so. But then you’ve got to play with a man down and that’s not the right thing to do.”

The 31-year-old has a .204 average, eight home runs and a .673 OPS in 46 games this season. In the meantime, Darwin Barney has been filling in admirably at shortstop.

Meanwhile, Jose Bautista gets a day off after leaving Thursday’s game early with soreness in his hip flexor. Bautista was willing to play, but Gibbons decided to play it safe in the hopes that the right fielder can return to the lineup Saturday.

“He wanted to give it a shot possibly, I said ‘no, he needs a day,'” Gibbons said. “We don’t want to make it worse. Who knows how long it takes.”

The question of whether Bautista can pinch hit is “top secret,” Gibbons joked.

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