The injury is a potentially devastating blow to a Blue Jays lineup that has been borderline unstoppable since the end of July. Toronto entered play in Game 2 Saturday night having won 31 of 40 games, which is the best 40-game stretch by an American League club since the Twins went 32-8 in 2006.
"It's not good news, we'll probably have a little better idea in a few days how long they might think [he's out]," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said after his team completed the doubleheader with a 10-7 victory. "Kind of a freak thing, it's unfortunate, but it means a couple of the other guys have a chance here to step up."
The Blue Jays completed the doubleheader sweep with the win to go up 4 1/2 games on the Yankees in the American League East.
The Tulowitzki injury happened when Didi Gregorius hit a popup to shallow center field in the second inning of Game 1. Tulowitzki ran back and appeared to camp under the ball, but Pillar also was calling for it and the lack of communication between the two players led to the collision.
Tulowitzki, who will address the media Sunday morning, made the catch despite the impact and appeared to pause for a second or two before tossing the ball away with his bare hand as he fell to the ground. The Blue Jays' training staff immediately ran onto the field alongside Gibbons.
The 30-year-old Tulowitzki remained on the ground for a couple of minutes before slowly walking off the field under his own power. He was then replaced in the lineup by infielder Cliff Pennington, who went to second base while Ryan Goins moved over to shortstop. Those two likely will continue to play every day up the middle during Tulowitzki's absence.
"I think the part of my body that hit him, I think was my chin," Pillar said. "He said it kind of felt like an elbow. It kind of happened so fast, I haven't really had a chance to look at it yet. I thought my face, my chin, went into his back area, but it could have been an elbow. When I got a chance to talk to him, he said that's what it felt like."
Pillar was visibly upset when discussing the play with a large group of reporters after the second game of the double header. At times, he had difficulty describing the play, and it became quite obvious that the moment was as much a blur for Pillar as it likely was for Toronto's starting shortstop.
"I couldn't feel any worse about it," Pillar said. "It's probably the worst thing I've ever experienced on the field. I've been injured myself, but to injure someone else is a nightmare you never want to have happen on the field -- especially a guy like him, who is so important to this team. A play that could have easily been avoided."