Tulowitzki poised to return to Rockies

Tulowitzki poised to return to Rockies

PHILADELPHIA -- Troy Tulowitzki is scheduled to play nine innings in a rehab start Sunday and could theoretically join the Rockies on Monday for pinch-hit duties against the Phillies, but manager Jim Tracy said the team is leaning toward bringing him back Tuesday at home.

"Hopefully, he'll be in position to play against the Pirates," Tracy said.

When Tulowitzki does return, he'll slide back into the cleanup spot -- "Right back where he belongs," Tracy said -- but might get an extra day of rest here and there as he rounds back into shape. Tracy also cautioned that Tulowitzki can't be expected to carry the team himself the moment he returns.

"He sticks his head in my office quite a bit," Tracy said. "For a player in the position he's in, doing the things he does in this clubhouse, he's in here just enough.

"You can't hit a three-run homer with nobody on. We didn't get to where we got to with him shouldering the entire burden. It shows when he's back in your lineup, because he's there, and the other side of the field knows he's there. He makes everybody else on the team better. That's what this young man has done for the Colorado Rockies in the past, and what he'll do again."

Tulowitzki was hitting .306 with nine homers and a .502 slugging percentage when he injured his wrist. Since being placed on the disabled list June 18, the Rockies are 17-14 in 31 games without him, although they are 2-8 in their last 10 games.

"It will allow people to get back where we wanted them to be all along, where we're not inventing something," Tracy said. "We can get back to some semblance of what we wanted coming out of Spring Training.

"We have not pushed the envelope and tried to get too much out of some guys, where you try to hold serve until Troy gets back and you wind up ruining other parts of your club.

"We've won two less games than we did a year ago at this time. But a year ago at this time, we didn't have five weeks without Tulowitzki, we didn't have health issues with Todd Helton, we didn't have swing issues with Brad Hawpe. You look at the bad. But given what we've done in the absence of some guys people thought we'd need to be good, I think we're doing OK. Maybe not as good as we wanted to, but I laud this group for their effort."