Tulowitzki, Barmes will start rehab stint at Triple-A Tuesday
For now, this was only a pit stop into town. But the smooth-fielding shortstop could be back with the team by the end of the week.
Tulowitzki and middle infielder Clint Barmes will head to Triple-A Colorado Springs on a rehab assignment beginning Tuesday night.
If all goes well, Tulowitzki could be back with the Rockies as soon as Friday night. He's been out since tearing his left quadriceps muscle on April 29. Barmes, on the disabled list since May 24 with a sprained right knee, may spend a few more days with the Sky Sox.
"I'm excited," Tulowitzki said. "I know it's getting close. I'm crossing my fingers -- hopefully everything goes OK and I'm here with the guys on Friday."
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle was noncommittal about Tulowitzki's return, only saying that he will be brought back to town Friday for further evaluation.
"It very well could play itself through the weekend," Hurdle said. "I'm not going to get painted into the corner on it. They need to do more things."
Tulowitzki has spent the last few days with the Single-A Modesto Nuts, knocking the rust off his game and springing for dinner every night for his teammates.
Then again, he can afford to pay for a few meals after signing a $31 million, six-year deal in the offseason.
"Those guys in the minors are not making too much -- the meals aren't too good," Tulowitzki said. "I'm happy to do that."
The 23-year-old injured his quad while charging a grounder during the first inning in a game against San Francisco on April 29. He felt a "tweak" as he tried to make an off-balance throw.
He said he hasn't felt pain or discomfort lately from the injury. But he's still a little apprehensive running the bases.
"I kind of baby it a little bit," he said. "That's the toughest thing so far."
Before his injury, Tulowitzki was struggling at the plate, hitting just .152 with one homer and 11 RBIs.
He was 4-for-12 with three doubles in his five-game rehab stint with Modesto.
"I feel good at the plate," Tulowitzki said. "I'm excited to get back."
Barmes tested his knee in Chicago over the weekend and said he felt no pain. He has been cautious in his return from the injury.
"I wanted to come back about a week ago," Barmes said. "But I can't honestly tell you I didn't feel any pain."
Barmes, the team's leading hitter at .343, doesn't think he'll be down in the minors too long.
"The biggest thing I'm doing is just testing my knee," Barmes said. "If I can play on that, then there's no reason why I shouldn't be right back up here."
The 28-year-old missed 78 games during his rookie season in 2005 after he broke his left collarbone on June 5. Barmes said he suffered the injury carrying deer meat up a flight of stairs at his apartment.
With the knee injury, Barmes said he was at least able to work on his hitting as he healed.
"My timing should be there," Barmes said.
So should the timing between Tulowitzki and Barmes. Working a few games together up the middle at Colorado Springs should help with communication.
"Hopefully, me and Barmey are ready to go soon," Tulowitzki said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press