DENVER -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki swung the bat with joy and force Wednesday afternoon. Balls traveled to the left-field seats, the way they did with regularity before he suffered a hip flexor strain on July 19.
"My swing feels great," said Tulowitzki, who still leads the Majors in batting at .340 despite missing 13 games -- counting Wednesday night's against the Cubs. "Even a couple days after I injured myself, I could have swung if I needed to. It was just the running and defensive lateral stuff I needed to take it easy on. But it hasn't affected my swing at all."
Tulowitzki said he'll attempt lateral movement and defensive drills Thursday, and after that he'll have a better idea of a target date for a return.
Despite the fact the Rockies have the National League's worst record at 44-68 (just a half-game ahead of the injury-affected Rangers, who are last in the Majors), Tulowitzki is pushing to return because he believes the games are important to a club already thinking of 2015. Tulowitkzi wants to demonstrate that he believes in the Rockies' future.
"It'd be easy to just pack up things and throw these games away and say 'Hey, we're out of this thing.' And move on to next year," Tulowitzki said. "But in that clubhouse, we need to finish strong and end on a good note. Some guys need to prove themselves for next year. And some guys need to get more experience to help out the team.
"That's why I came out numerous times and said I want to win. It doesn't mean I want out of here. It means I'm sick and tired of losing. Something needs to change. Hopefully that comes fairly quickly. You can't force it. But at the same time, we're all frustrated with this year -- especially me."
Tulowitzki's belief is based on the team's early performance, before injuries to key players and much of the pitching staff.
"That lineup we featured in April, and some of our pitchers being healthy, was good enough to win," he said. "But things kind of fell apart and fell apart quickly. But you look at the Red Sox and the things they did, they're kind of the model team. They blow things up and then next year they're right back in contention. So hopefully we can do a little bit of that."
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.