Welcome to Tulo Fans, your ultimate online resource center for the athletic talent Troy Tulowitzki! We provide the latest information, news and photos to keep you up to date. If you don't know already, Tulo is the 27-year-old two-time Gold Glove & Silver Slugger All-Star shortstop for the Colorado Rockies. If you have any questions, comments, concerns or if you'd like to contribute to the site, feel free to contact the webmistress
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The past became present Monday as Troy Tulowitzki, the former Gold Glove shortstop, reappeared during the Rockies’ 9-1 win over the Rangers.
“Every time he passes a test it gives us a peace of mind,” manager Walt Weiss said. “He’s in a really good place.”
Tulo provided the most significant highlight, charging a groundball and throwing off balance to erase the speedy Craig Gentry at first base. He moved easily, showing no hesitation. Tulowitzki has not been tested defensively since last May before he injured his left groin.
The two-time all-star shortstop was involved in three defensive plays Monday and had no issues.
“On that groundball, it came naturally. I didn’t have to think about it. I just let my instincts take over,” said Tulowitzki, who is not expected to play Tuesday as part of his planned early schedule.
He added a hard two-RBI single in his second at-bat. He has driven in three runs in four plate appearances.
“Hitting in the middle of the order, it’s important to get those runs home. We have preached a lot about it in camp, so it was nice to get a two-out hit,” Tulowitzki said.
Fast and curious. Unless the Angels hit Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos back-to-back there won’t be a faster leadoff, No. 2-hitter combination than Dexter Fowler and Eric Young Jr. The two created havoc Monday, with Fowler tripling and Young scoring twice.
Weiss wants to carve out playing time for Young, which is why he has played second, center and left, and will soon spend time in right field and at third base. He hasn’t played infield regularly for two years.
“I am ready for anything,” Young said. “Whatever helps me get in there, I will do it.”
If nothing else, Young could help create a more functional Sunday lineup, a typical rest day for regulars. The Rockies are 11-41 on Sundays over the past two seasons.
SCOTTSDALE, ariz. — For the first time in his career, uncertainty defines Troy Tulowitzki. He believes his surgically repaired left leg will be fine, but he won’t know until he plays several spring training games. He wants to stay in Colorado — it’s why he agreed to a Rockie-for-life contract through 2020 — but realizes there are no guarantees if the franchise doesn’t climb out of the abyss.
“With my leg, I just don’t know. I feel great, but I am not going to throw it out there that I won’t get hurt. I don’t know that. But I have done everything possible to prepare for this season,” Tulowitzki said. “With (manager) Walt (Weiss) here, it’s a fresh start. I am excited. It’s a new chapter in my book. But we need to turn things around quickly, and if we don’t, there’s a possibility I won’t be here. We are a team that doesn’t spend a whole bunch of money, so if we don’t get this going in the right direction, anything can happen.”
In a wide-ranging, 30-minute interview in the Rockies’ clubhouse at Salt River Fields, the two-time all-star discussed several topics with The Denver Post, including leadership, his relationship with fellow all-star Carlos Gonzalez and his desire to remain at shortstop.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Each day that Josh Rutledge arrives at the Rockies’ Spring Training complex, he dresses right beside star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
If it’s by design, it wasn’t Tulowitzki’s, since he didn’t express an opinion about the clubhouse plan. And Rutledge’s only Major League experience was last year, when he came up from Double-A Tulsa to play shortstop after a left groin injury forced Tulowitzki to the disabled list. Guys with that little big league time have no choice in their clubhouse real estate.
But wouldn’t it be nice if they could be neighbors for a while?
Rutledge turned heads to the tune of a .274 batting average, eight home runs and 37 RBIs in 73 games. The performance led the Rockies to give Rutledge a crack at the starting second-base job.
Rutledge has started the process of getting acquainted with Tulowitzki. Late last season, as Tulowitzki was finishing his recovery and rehab from the injury, the two worked together during batting and infield practice. They were in Scottsdale nearly a week before full-squad workouts began.
“We’re just getting the feeling where we’re comfortable with each other is definitely a key,” Rutledge said. “We’re well on our way to already being there.”
It helps that Tulowitzki is easy to work with. He’s had to be.
Since making the Majors in 2006, Tulowitzki has had a lengthy list of keystone partners — Kazuo Matsui, Jamey Carroll, Jeff Baker, Clint Barmes, Eric Young Jr., Chris Nelson, Jonathan Herrera, Mark Ellis and Marco Scutaro, all of whom had a significant number of games alongside Tulowitzki. Add to that the fact that DJ LeMahieu played second base while Rutledge was at short last year, and you have a position that has been a merry-go-round.
None of this stopped Tulowitzki from winning Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and All-Star Game trips in his last two healthy seasons, or finishing in the top 10 in National League Most Valuable Player voting three times. He has said in the past that the time it takes to develop a partnership is overrated.
Still, he sees Rutledge as having traits that could give him staying power.
“Work ethic-wise, he’s someone you don’t have to challenge in that direction,” Tulowitzki said. “He has that already, and that’s impressive as a young player. He gets his swings in the cage. He works real hard in the weight room. He’s not afraid to work. So that’s awesome.”
Rutledge, 23, the Rockies’ third-round pick in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft, was hot for most of the time he was in the Majors last year. But he also experienced a healthy amount of downside.
From his debut on July 13 to a 3-for-5 performance against the Padres on Sept. 1, Rutledge hit .353 with seven home runs, 27 RBIs, 13 doubles and four triples. However, having not played more than 113 games in a professional season before last year, the dropoff was painful and ugly. He hit .181 with one home run and 10 RBIs in the final 31 games. A quadriceps issue made the final month painful. By year’s end, he had played 160 total games between Tulsa and Colorado — almost the equivalent of a full big league schedule, all while dealing with the intensity change in jumping two levels.
“It was good for me to get that experience and realize how long a season actually is and grow on that,” Rutledge said.
All that Major League action gave opposing pitchers information that can be used against him, but Rutledge saw quite a bit of video as well.
“I spent a good bit of the offseason looking at swings from last year of myself and making some adjustments,” Rutledge said. “I felt like that was a key to me. I’ve never really had the opportunity to use video as much. It’s definitely helped me to be able to see what I’m doing and to make adjustments.
“Anybody that’s in the big leagues can hit. It’s just all about pitch selection and getting your pitch. That’s key for any hitter, not just me. Take what they give you, not try to do too much with what they give you.”
To help Rutledge’s learning curve, manager Walt Weiss has told him to concentrate on playing second. He would move back to short only if the team lost Tulowitzki and the Rockies didn’t like their other options.
If all goes as planned, the Rockies will have an up-the-middle mix of experience, with Tulowitzki and potential Gold Glove center fielder Dexter Fowler, and youth, with second-year men in Rutledge and catcher Wilin Rosario.
“It can work,” Weiss said. “When you talk about the youth in Rosario and Rutledge, they’re two dynamic athletes. I think overall there’s a nice mix of veteran players and youthful players on our roster. That’s not a concern with the youth up the middle.”
But Rutledge’s success brings no guarantees. LeMahieu, benefitting from the regular playing time and some swing adjustments that former manager Jim Tracy and former hitting coach Carney Lansford gave him, finished the year hitting .297. While Rutledge’s power potential gives him an inside shot at the job, LeMahieu is striving to change the plans.
The Rockies, as history shows, have been known to change their second-base plans.
Rutledge vows to take an even-keeled approach to his assignment and any challenges.
“I feel like if I just play my game, I have a good opportunity in front of me. It helped getting a lot of experience out of me, just to kind of get through the nerves,” he said. “But any player coming back is going to be real anxious to get going again. It’s not really nerves but if you don’t really get butterflies playing this game, you feel like you’re doing the right thing.”
Troy Tulowitzki is pacing himself this spring. His surgery-repaired left groin is healthy, and he wants it to stay that way. So rather than take 50 groundballs during a drill, he might take 20. He needs to stay sharp without compromising strength that might make him vulnerable to injury. Hitting is less an issue as you can see from my knothole gang vantage point video. Dante Bichette, the new hitting coach who knows a little something about crushing home runs for the Rockies, was impressed.
“There are a lot of things to like,” Bichette said.
Tulowitzki hit .287 last season with eight home runs and 27 RBIs in 47 games. He injured his left groin during the second game of the season while turning a double play. The nagging injury became a major problem when he suffered a more severe strain breaking out of the batter’s box on May 30. After a setback during a Triple-A rehab assignment, Tulo underwent surgery to remove scar tissue irritating a nerve. Physical therapy has left him at 100 percent, he said. He is anxious to play in games to test his leg.
SCOTTSDALE ARIZ. — Troy Tulowitzki owns a Ferrari but doesn’t speed. A teammate recently asked him to race, to which Tulo responded, “Are we in high school?”
Tulowitzki’s maturation and evolution have spilled onto the field. He’s in a transitional stage of his major-league career, learning to trust quality over quantity when it comes to practice. His preference would be to take 50 groundballs during a drill. But now, the Rockies shortstop admitted, “it’s closer to 20.” For the first time in his career, Tulo is deliberately pacing himself during spring workouts, making sure to leave plenty of time for stretching and flexibility exercises.
He cleared another small hurdle in his recovery Friday, running the bases at full speed at Salt River Fields.
“It’s the best I’ve felt in years,” Tulowitzki said as he watched voluntary batting practice. “It’s not like I am faster. It just felt free and easy.”
Tulowitzki is eager to play in games, wanting to test his surgically repaired left groin. First-year Rockies manager Walt Weiss soon will meet with Tulo to map out his schedule.
There’s still a chance that Tulowitzki could be added to Team USA’s roster for the World Baseball Classic, though it’s not expected.
Two year’s ago Troy Tulowitzki was the named the second best shortstop in baseball by MLB Network, and at the time I cried foul, but since then MLBN has wised up and named Tulo the best shortstop in baseball each of the last two seasons. Yesterday MLBN had their “Top 10 Right Now” series on shortstops and Tulo was ranked first by the shredder, third by Bill James and, just because of his injury history**, not included on Larry Bowa’s list of 10 shortstops.
As noted in the video linked above; Tulo ranks first among shortstops since 2009 in on-base percentage, slugging percentage and home runs and is tied for first in runs batted in with Hanley Ramirez. And let us not forget that Tulo missed pretty much all of last year and still leads in those counting stats like HR and RBI.
It goes without saying that the Rockies season in 2013 hinges on Tulo’s ability to stay healthy. Tulo played in 155 games in 2007 and 151 in 2009 and those were the years that the Rockies made the playoffs. The other years Tulo only played in more than 122 games in 2008 (143) and he had a career low 47 game played last season. Not saying that if Tulo plays in 160 games this year he will carry the Rox to the playoffs, but it certainly gives them a much better chance at .500.
The “Shredder’s” top 10 shortstops are:
My, how Ramirez has fallen.
The fact that Bowa doesn’t include Tulo** makes his rankings completely worthless, but Bill James ranks Tulo third and anytime James talks baseball we should listen.
Here are James’ top 10 shortstops right now:
I guess I am OK with Tulo ranked third, solely on the fact that he hasn’t played in 162 games in a season yet, but Jeter ahead of him?? I know Jeter had a great offensive season last year with 200+ hits, but his defense was atrocious as usual. Add in Jeter’s injury to end the year last year and his age one would have to be at least a little concerned going into 2013. I am OK with Reyes in front of Tulo, but Jeter?
Finally, Jon Hart picked his top three shortstops that he would sign to a one-year deal right now and he picked Tulo as the one shortstop he would sign if he could sign any shortstop in baseball.
It is pretty safe to say that Tulo is clearly the best shortstop in baseball, when healthy. It is unfortunate that he cannot stay healthy but when he is healthy there isn’t a shortstop that compares.
**Bowa did say that if Tulo was healthy he would be number one on his list. But I still don’t get it. Tulo is healthy for 2013. There really isn’t any reason to think he won’t play at least 130 or 140 games this year. As the much more logical, number based, host Brian Kenny said: “I would rather had Tulo for 120 games than full season from some of the others” (I paraphrased that quote). I am OK with dropping him a few ranks due to his inability to play 162 games, but leaving him off of the list of top 10 shortstops in baseball right now? That’s just stupid.
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