Tulowitzki takes batting practice, may be out until All-Star break
DENVER -- Troy Tulowitzki tried to blend in as he took batting practice with the pitchers, not wanting to draw attention to himself.
The Colorado Rockies shortstop's long homers into the left-field seats were hard to ignore.
Tulowitzki took on-field batting practice Tuesday for the first time since tearing a quadriceps muscle on April 29.
He said he hasn't experienced any more pain from the injury, but doesn't know when he'll be back.
The slick-fielding, second-year shortstop may be out until the All-Star break as the Rockies take a cautious approach with his recovery.
"That's the smartest way," Tulowitzki said. "They know how I am and would try to play today if I could. They're taking good care of me."
"It was nice to get out there on the field and take some," he said.
As the Rockies regulars made their way onto the field, they stopped and gawked at Tulowitzki's powerful swings.
"Who's that?" Matt Holliday joked.
Tulowitzki just grinned and went about his business of crushing the baseball.
"It goes to show the guys care about me and definitely miss me," Tulowitzki said of the razzing he took from his teammates. "I'm looking forward to getting to play with them again."
Tulowitzki injured his quad while charging a grounder during the first inning in a game against San Francisco. He felt a "tweak" as he tried to make an off-balance throw.
He remained in the game since he was already filling in for Jeff Baker, who had burst a blood vessel in the middle finger of his right hand in batting practice. He doesn't think he did more damage by not coming out immediately.
Although Tulowitzki has taken a few cuts in the cage and some routine grounders, he hasn't tested his quad yet. Taking grounders in the hole is still a little ways off.
"Sometimes you try and bring a guy back too soon and they make the same type of move and it grabs on them and they re-injure it," trainer Keith Dugger said. "We've taken it fairly slow and it's doing fine."
Truth be known, Tulowitzki is a little apprehensive right now about planting and throwing.
"That's how I got hurt. I'm sure that's going to be tough to overcome, he said.
Still, watching is driving him crazy. Before the injury, he was hitting just .152 with one homer and 11 RBIs.
"I love the game and love to be out there competing," he said. "At the same time, I was obviously struggling and putting pressure on myself. Maybe it was good to sit back and watch the game."
Colorado rewarded Tulowitzki's sensational rookie season with a new $31 million, six-year deal in the offseason. Tulowitzki helped the Rockies to their first NL pennant with his reliable fielding and clutch hitting.
He's eager to get back on the field.
"I watch games all the time," Tulowitzki said. "I watch some of the good hitters on the team and what they do. I know a lot about our team now."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press