Stretching the Field: Troy story in the Rockies

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Updated: 5/05/2014 10:54 am

( - Sports fans don't appreciate being teased.

Watching your team make it all the way to a conference final, an NLCS or the Super Bowl, and lose, is a tough pill to swallow.

We've all been there.

Another annoying fact of life is when a star player goes down with an injury after an inspiring and productive run.

Colorado Rockies fans know all about it with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

Don't start pinching pennies for those Coors Field playoff tickets just yet because there's a chance Tulowitzki won't be there if the Rockies make it. They have to get through Los Angeles and San Francisco first in the NL West, and could possibly accomplish the feat if their star infielder can stay off the disabled list, a place he should invest property in.

Tulowitzki will turn 30 in October and is one of the top infielders in the major leagues. He has great vision at the plate and knows how to use both his hips and hands to his advantage. Tulowitzki's body, however, has infamously failed him in recent years and he has played over 130 games just once in the last four seasons.

He played in only 47 games in 2012, then made 126 appearances last season. Tulowitzki, who was limited to 122 games in 2010, has been beset by several maladies from calf problems to a broken rib. Throw in a groin issue and some leg ailments and you have a nice mixture of infirmary visits.

Fantasy baseball fanatics have to be bald from pulling their hair out with this guy over the years.

But this season (fingers crossed) Tulowitzki has been reliable.

Tulowitzki, who got the day off Sunday to rest, leads the majors with a .400 batting average, a .500 on-base percentage and a .730 slugging percentage through 30 games. In his last 15 games, Tulo is hitting .472 with six home runs, six doubles, 18 runs scored, 19 RBI and 25 hits.

Now a member of the 1,000-hit club, Tulowitzki is the fifth Colorado player to achieve the feat. If all goes well health-wise, maybe 1,000-plus hits should come.

Tulowitzki owns seven home runs and 25 RBI overall, and has been a monster in 13 games in the Mile High City, producing a .591 batting average, a .655 OBP and a 1.000 slugging percentage with four homers and 17 RBI. He has recorded three or more hits seven times this season.

Arguably a shoe-in to start at shortstop in the All-Star Game if votes were due over the weekend, Tulowitzki has a high threshold for pain, but don't be surprised if Rockies manager Walt Weiss has some planned days off for his star shortstop in the interest of long-term health.

None of Tulowitzki's injuries have been deemed terribly serious save a broken rib sustained last summer. That may be fine, but he's still susceptible to injury and always seems to be hampered with something that causes him to miss time.

The Rockies lead the majors in most offensive categories mainly because of Tulowitzki and his ability to stay on the field in 2014. It's still May and something could be looming for Tulo in the next few weeks or months.

Combine Tulowitzki's promising start with star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and the red-hot Nolan Arenado (24-game hit streak), and the Rockies have a contender. Tulowitzki and Gonzalez have barely been able to stay on the field together consistently in their careers and CarGo is already dealing with light, albeit pretty annoying, injuries.

Imagine a full unscathed season with both Tulo and CarGo. They could post the most impressive numbers of their careers and lead the Rockies to a wild card berth or possibly the first division title in franchise history.

Tulowitzki is expected back in the lineup for an upcoming series versus the Texas Rangers and the Rockies can only wish May is another month he will avoid the injury-prone label and dreaded disabled list.


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