Cuddyer may be back in Rockies' lineup Saturday

Cuddyer may be back in Rockies' lineup Saturday

DENVER -- Michael Cuddyer's long, winding rehabilitation from his fractured left shoulder looks to be coming to an end this weekend, with the Rockies expecting his return as soon as Saturday.

Cuddyer hasn't played since the injury occurred on a diving, defensive attempt at third on June 5, but he'll be making his final rehab start Thursday with Double-A Tulsa before heading back to Colorado.

"He's going to play today and tomorrow is going to be a travel day for him," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "If everything goes OK, he has a chance to be in the starting lineup for us on Saturday."

Cuddyer began his rehab assignment last Wednesday, playing five games with the Rockies' rookie affiliate in Grand Junction, Colo., before joining Tulsa on Tuesday.

In five games with Grand Junction, Cuddyer went 11-for-19 with six doubles, five runs and nine RBIs. Through his first two games with Tulsa, Cuddyer had two hits and two runs scored in seven at-bats.

With Carlos Gonzalez possibly being shut down for the season with a knee injury, Cuddyer is expected to slot into right field. As a free-agent-to-be, Cuddyer will have approximately 40 games to prove his health to an organization with which he hopes to remain.

In 31 games before sustaining a non-displaced fracture of his shoulder socket, the 2013 National League batting champion was hitting .317 (38-for-120) with five home runs and 16 RBIs.

Cody Ulm is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.