PHOENIX -- On the day he learned he was voted by fans to start the All-Star Game, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki moved a step closer to returning before the break from a broken rib incurred June 13.
Early Saturday afternoon, Tulowitzki went through an aggressive round of batting practice, during which he launched several balls into the left-field seats. Tulowitzki will take batting practice again Sunday, then huddle with coaches and training staff to decide whether to begin a Minor League rehab assignment.
If Tulowitzki plays in rehab games to his satisfaction and rejoins the Rockies' lineup before the break, he will join teammate Carlos Gonzalez -- also elected by the fans -- in the National League's starting lineup.
Tulowitzki said he will not make the All-Star Game his first action back against Major League competition.
"First and foremost, my focus is on the Rockies, trying to get back with them and help win some games," Tulowitzki said. "It's still up in the air. The next couple of days, depending on how I feel, either I'll be playing because I'm feeling good or I'm not.
"Today was real good, my best day so far. I was able to let it go. If I come out tomorrow and do the same thing, we'll huddle up and see where it takes us. It was real encouraging. I'm just excited to be getting close."
Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler, out with a right hand injury, took dry swings on Saturday. Manager Walt Weiss said the Rockies haven't determined if Fowler will play in Minor League games. He is eligible to return Thursday for the opener of four games at Dodger Stadium, the last series before the break.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less