The Rockies have mapped out a rehab schedule that begins with games for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Wednesday and Thursday, and with Double-A Tulsa Saturday, Sunday and next Monday, with the final appearance as a pinch-hitter. He'll return to Denver on July 27 to be evaluated for a return the next day.
Tulowitzki has missed 25 games. Although the Rockies have won 16 of them, they will need him to anchor the lineup down the stretch. Before suffering the injury when hit by a pitch on June 17, Tulowitzki hit .306 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs -- enough to earn an invitation to the All-Star Game for the first time.
Tulowitzki has taken batting practice and fielded ground balls at every opportunity since returning from the All-Star break. But the only way of knowing if he's ready is participating in game action, which is the reason for the rehab assignment.
The confidence to swing at inside pitches without fear is just one of the markers of his readiness.
"Just with the game, some things are going to fall in my lap," Tulowitzki said. "And I might strike out. Swing-and-miss is going to be a big test for me. Diving back into first [on a pickoff], we'll see. I might just go back into first and it happens, then I'll say, 'Hey, I'm OK.'"
He's splitting his rehab between Colorado Springs and Tulsa, because the Rockies would rather he not travel during a Colorado Springs road trip. Tulowitzki likes the idea of making the two stops.
"It's nice to see Minor League coaches that helped me along the way," Tulowitkzi said. "To go back to the Springs and see Stu Cole [the Sky Sox's manager, who managed Tulowitzki in Tulsa], I have a great relationship with him. To go back to Tulsa, I played there and I have relatives there."
In other rehab news, Rockies manager Jim Tracy said utility man Eric Young Jr., coming back from a stress fracture of the right tibia, is "moving along nicely" in game action at Tulsa and has even been taken out on a double play with no problems. Righty reliever Taylor Buchholz is pitching on a consistent schedule after a recent back issue. Buchholz missed last season with Tommy John surgery. Righty reliever Matt Daley, out with shoulder stiffness, joined Colorado Springs on Monday and is scheduled to pitch Thursday. Colorado Springs righty prospect Samuel Deduno, who has missed much of the year with a stress fracture of his throwing elbow, will be back on the mound within days.