Tulowitzki takes light batting practice
By PAT GRAHAM
AP Sports Writer
DENVER (AP) -- Sore ribs and all, Troy Tulowitzki sent pitches soaring out of the park in a light round of batting practice on Thursday.
The Colorado Rockies shortstop felt only minimal pain, too, and thinks he could be back soon, maybe even before the All-Star break.
"It's not like I had to stop and say, `It's too much pain,"' said Tulowitzki, who's been on the disabled list since June 14 after breaking a rib diving for a ball in a loss to Washington. "I went through it and felt good.
"Now, it's all about getting treatment and taking steps in the right direction."
Tulowitzki will accompany the Rockies on a 10-game road swing that will take them up to the break. He could possibly ship out for a rehabilitation assignment at some point. An exact plan is still uncertain with his rib on the mend.
"Everything looks good right now," manager Walt Weiss said.
Tulowitzki says he took "very easy swings" in batting practice before the game against Los Angeles. He still sent quite a few flying high up into the stands in left.
"There's still more left in the tank," said Tulowitzki, a two-time All-Star. "I came away very happy about it."
Although his healing rib doesn't bother his fielding or throwing motions, it does somewhat hinder his swing.
"Once the ball has a little extra carry, and less pain, I should be ready," Tulowitzki said.
Tulowitzki currently leads the fan voting at his position for the All-Star Game and vows to attend, even if he can't play. He insisted he's not focused on the possibility of playing in that game, though.
"I'm taking that out of the equation," he said. "My main focus is the Rockies, helping them win games. I'm not downplaying the All-star Game. The All-Star Game is great. I would love to participate in it.
"If it's in my schedule, there's a possibility. If it doesn't (fit in), I wouldn't worry about it."
And while outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is a virtual lock to earn an All-Star squad, Tulowitzki wouldn't mind seeing teammate Michael Cuddyer make it as well. Cuddyer recently had a team-record 27-game hitting streak snapped.
"(Cuddyer) is definitely deserving," Tulowitzki said. "He's one of the most underrated players in the league."
The trouble is Cuddyer plays the same position as Yasiel Puig, the Los Angeles rookie sensation who's hitting .440 since making his debut on June 3. Puig's possible inclusion on the All-Star team is a divisive topic, with some players believing he's played well enough in a short amount of time to earn a spot, while others think a month's work of work isn't sufficient.
"He's a great player, don't get me wrong, but I just feel you have to put a little more time than what he has," Tulowitzki said. "I'm sure if this keeps up, he's going to have many All-Star appearances and a lot of accolades coming his way. He's a great player. I just don't think this year."
These days, Tulowitzki said his rib is only a nuisance getting out of bed.
"Once I start moving, get a heat pack on it, it feels a lot better," explained Tulowitzki, who's hitting .347 with 16 homers and 51 RBIs this season. "It could be three or four days it feels great and I'm like, `Hey, let's go on a rehab assignment.' Could be another week or two after the break. I just don't know."
Weiss watched his star take some swings on Thursday and was optimistic.
"It wasn't like he was letting it go, but he was swinging the bat pretty good. No issues," Weiss said. "If he's good to go before the break -- we're not going to hold our breath to that -- but if that were the case, it would be great."
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)