The super power hasn't returned to Troy Tulowitzki's swing — not quite yet — but there was a spring in his step and a smile on his face after the Rockies shortstop took batting practice Thursday afternoon at Coors Field.
Tulowitzki is so encouraged by the healing process of his broken right rib that he has not ruled out returning to the Colorado lineup before the all-star break. If that were the case, Tulowitzki would likely be able to play for the National League in the All-Star Game on July 16 in New York. Tulowitzki is the leading vote-getter at shortstop, with more than 4 million votes from the fans.
"It's a possibility. But my main focus right now is getting back for the Rockies," he said. "I'm not
downplaying the All-Star Game, and I would love to participate in it. If the time is right and it fits in my schedule, I would love to play. If I win the fan vote, but couldn't play, I probably would attend."
Tulowitzki took live batting practice for the first time Thursday since he broke a rib diving for a groundball against the Nationals on June 13. Although he swung relatively lightly Thursday, he still managed to hit three balls into the left-field bleachers. So he has some power.
The Rockies have 10 games before the all-star break, all of them on the road. Tulowitzki will be with the team in Arizona to begin the trip Friday. When Tulowitzki gets the all-clear sign, he likely would make a couple of minor-league rehab starts to get tuned up.
Rockies manager Walt Weiss, whose team entered Thursday night's game with a 6-12 record without Tulo in the lineup, is hopeful.
"I'm all for that, if he's good to go before the break," Weiss said. "We're not going to hold our breath to that, but if that were the case, that would be great."
Tulowitzki said he feels no pain when he's fielding or throwing and only slight discomfort swinging a bat. "It just feels like a bruise, but it's not too bad," he said.
Though optimistic about rejoining the Rockies soon, Tulowitzki said he can't predict exactly how long he will remain sidelined.
"I don't know, because every day is a little bit different," he said. "In five days I might feel great. But really, getting back has nothing to do with the All-Star Game, it has everything to do with getting back for the team."