DENVER -- Two big bats that have been out of commission for Colorado much of the summer are a step closer to rejoining the club. Troy Tulowitzki and Jason Giambi were each set to play their third rehab game with the Double-A Tulsa Drillers Monday night and could be activated as early as Saturday.
"The plan moving forward is for them to play tonight," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said before Monday's series opener against the Dodgers. "They'll be here in Denver tomorrow to be re-evaluated physically and see how they're doing. If everything checks out, then the plan moving forward would be to send them to [Triple-A] Colorado Springs on Wednesday and play a couple days there."
Tulowitzki has been recovering from groin surgery since May 30, and Giambi has been on the DL with a viral infection since July 21. In two games each in Double-A, Tulo is 1-for-6 with a double and an RBI, and Giambi is 1-for-4 with an RBI.
With the 25-man rosters expanding to as many as 40 on Saturday, both players will probably wait until at least that date to avoid additional roster moves.
"I think there's a strong likelihood that we would not do anything prior to Saturday, but I can't sit here and say definitely that Saturday is the target date for either one of those two guys," Tracy said. "At some point in time I am very hopeful of that."
Tulowitzki has missed 77 games heading into Monday, and the chance to return for a full September is valuable on a couple of fronts.
"Peace of mind as far as Tulo's concerned, so that between now and the fourth of October, he goes home knowing that everything's OK, that hopefully he gets a good feel physically as to where he's at, that he knows everything's in place," Tracy said.
A second reason is that, in Tulowitzki's absence, Josh Rutledge has emerged as a top rookie shortstop, hitting .338 with seven homers and 25 RBIs in 37 games. He's already penciled in as the Rockies' second baseman of the future, and the Rockies are eager to see Tulowitzki and Rutledge together on the big league stage this season.
"The opportunity to play together in the middle [of the infield] instead of it being in a less stressful environment beginning in Spring Training, it's much more important that we get them involved out here in Major League game-type situations, which -- fingers crossed -- hopefully we'll have an opportunity to do," Tracy said.
Rutledge has been nursing a tight quad and has been limited to pinch-hit appearances of late. He is available for a double-switch situation Monday.