Tulo contemplates return to lineup in Arizona

Tulo contemplates return to lineup in Arizona

Tulo contemplates return to lineup in Arizona
DENVER -- The Rockies have had their sights set on Spring Training for months already, but Troy Tulowitzki is getting ahead of the curve with a trip to the Scottsdale, Ariz., for an instructional league game on Sunday, a day before the Rockies arrive in Phoenix for the season's final series.

"If I feel good, I might possibly play with the [Rockies] in Arizona," said Tulowitzki, who has been out with a groin injury since late May. "If I don't, I'll stay in instruction until I feel right to go into the offseason. I have to listen to my body. If I'm not 100 percent, if I'm 80 or 90 percent, there's no reason to risk it out there.

"I have to do everything I possibly can to prepare myself to play every game next year. It's been frustrating for me. You learn from it and you grow from it."

Tulo's frustrations mirror those of a club that's one loss away from tying a franchise record of 95, but has temporarily staved off the specter of a 100-loss campaign thanks to a three-game winning streak heading into their final home game on Thursday.

"Obviously, what we have in this locker room did not work, so in professional sports there's usually changes," Tulo said. "I don't know if that's going to be in this clubhouse -- which I'm sure there will be a few. I don't know if it's going to be the coaches, I don't know if it's going to be the front office. What it may hold, time will tell. It should be interesting, and there should be moves made after a year like this."

Tulo was quick to recognize the heart of the problem.

"We didn't really pitch," he said.

But he also felt the mandated change to a four-man rotation and 75 pitch limit for starters was hard to handle at mid-season.

"I'm frustrated with that," Tulo said. "You'd like a set agenda. If it doesn't work, then after the season we'll look to change up some things, but to have things during the season being switched, such as the pitching. It gets a little frustrating because you don't quite get it all the time, you don't know what's going on, you have to trust people. It wore on me a little bit. Hopefully we get that squared away in this offseason and don't have to deal with that again."

The bright side of an injury-plagued season has been the performance of a core of rookie position players who have started a collective 367 games through Thursday, with five of Thursday's starters hitting .275 or better and four flirting with .300.

"Maybe if I didn't get hurt, [shotstop Josh] Rutledge might not have ever got called up," Tulo said. "So to see him possibly be the second baseman next year, and DJ LeMahieu's done a great job too -- that position battle should be a good one next year.

"Start from square one and say these guys are two good young ball players and let them fight it out in spring Training. That's a bright thing. Competition brings out the best in guys."