Troy Tulowitzki, who is returning from groin surgery that ended his 2012 season prematurely, started in back-to-back games for the first time this spring. But his first opportunity to get that kind of work in with the Colorado Rockies may have cost him a chance to play for Team USA.
Tulowitzki wanted to play for the US team in the World Baseball Classic before the insurance issues in his contract–which has $140 million remaining–kicked in and prevented him from playing. It just so happens it worked out what could have been his opportunity to do so was against his own MLB team.
“It just worked out that way that I am playing. It’s a night game after a day with a day off (Thursday) so it made sense. I definitely miss (having chance to play for Team USA),” Tulowitzki told the Denver Post on 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. It adds up to me not playing. But it, will be cool to see some of the guys I know. It’s always great to play against the best. I definitely wish them luck and hope they do a good job.”
So far everything is going as planned for Tulowitzki’s surgically-repaired left groin, and he hasn’t felt any adverse effects as he continues with the program that has been mapped out for him. Right now he’s only done base running in drills, and hasn’t had to run hard on the base paths in a Spring Training game yet.
“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 to the paper. “Every day that goes by I am more confident. All those hours of rehab, I can kind of see it paying off. I know I am not free yet. But I definitely like where I am it.”
The Rockies need a healthy Tulowitzki to be able to compete in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. Not only does he provide them with excellent defense at shortstop, but has a 162 game average of 102 RBI, 28 HR, .504 SLG, and .292 BA in a seven year career with the Rockies.
Groin injuries are serious for any player, but in particular they can hamper a shortstop more than others because of the constant shifting and pushing off in different directions required by the position.
Last season the Rockies played five other shortstops besides Tulowitzki, who were only able to manage 11 HR and 50 RBI in 115 games played, compared to the 8 HR and 27 RBI Tulowitzki totaled in only 47 games–so it’s clear how important Tulowitzki is to this team.