It just worked out this way. It wasn't personal, Troy Tulowitzki insisted. For the first time this spring, he started back-to-back games.

That it happened Wednesday night against Team USA — which he wanted to play for — was just a convenient quirk in the schedule. Tulowitzki planned to play for the American squad in the World Baseball Classic, but his health and related insurance issues prevented it. He finished last season on the disabled list after groin surgery, meaning the World Baseball Committee had to protect the remaining $140 million on his contract.

"It's a night game after a day game with a day off (Thursday) so it made sense. I definitely miss (having chance to play for Team USA)," the Rockies shortstop said Wednesday. "But overall, they had to make a decision. The Rockies as an organization would rather have me in camp working with (Josh) Rutledge. Also, there was the issue with the insurance."

Tulowitzki has played this spring according to the plan mapped out by first-year manager Walt Weiss. His leg has responded to each challenge. He hasn't had to run the bases aggressively, but isn't worried because of how well it has held up in drills.

"I want to go first to third. I have dived back to the base on a pick play. I have done so much on the (practice) fields that I believe my instincts will take over," Tulowitzki said. "Every day that goes by, I am more confident. All those hours of rehab, I can see it paying off. I know I am not free yet. But I definitely like where I am."