'Hesitant' Tulo pulled from rehab game

Activation timeline uncertain for injured five-time All-Star

'Hesitant' Tulo pulled from rehab game

TORONTO -- Troy Tulowitzki's rough start to the 2016 season continued on Friday, with manager John Gibbons updating the status of his injured starting shortstop prior to the Blue Jays' matchup with the Orioles.

Tulowitzki has been out since May 27 with soreness in his right quadriceps and had been rehabbing at the Blue Jays' Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla. The 31-year-old began hitting of a tee earlier in the week and got into an extended spring training game on Friday before being pulled mid-game.

"Something didn't feel right," Gibbons said. "It's not like he re-injured it, but he was a little hesistant or something."

Tulowitzki was slated to head to Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday if things went well Friday, with a possible return to the Major Leagues early next week. The Blue Jays did not say whether that timeline remains in place.

"I'm not sure," Gibbons said when asked if Tulowitzki would play Saturday. "I probably doubt it, but I don't know."

Tulowitzki, a native of Santa Clara, Calif., was hitting .204 with a .673 OPS and seven errors in 46 games before going down with the quad injury. The five-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner had been showing signs of improvement, batting .288 with a .903 OPS in the 14 games prior to the DL stint.

Darwin Barney has received a majority of the reps at shortstop in Tulowitzki's absence, and he entered Friday's action hitting .310 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 40 games.

Worth noting

• Right fielder Jose Bautista was absent from Toronto's starting lineup on Friday after exiting Thursday's loss against the Orioles in the sixth inning with right thigh tightness. Ezequiel Carrera got the nod in Bautista's place, hitting leadoff and playing right field. Gibbons did not reveal if the Blue Jays would use Bautista off the bench as a pinch-hitter.

"Yeah we hope," Gibbons said about Bautista's potential return to the lineup on Saturday. "It's day to day, one of those deals."

• Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid was on hand to throw out the first pitch before Friday's game. McDavid, who grew up near the Toronto area and has been a lifelong fan of the Blue Jays, attended many games growing up and was also in attendance with his teammates for Toronto's victory against the Rangers in Game 3 of the 2015 American League Division Series.

"We were fortunate enough to see them play in Texas, and we've obviously been following along in every other way," McDavid said. "We definitely had a good time watching that, and it's awesome to see what they could do for the city here."

Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.