Tag:Troy Tulowitzki
Posted on: September 19, 2010 7:56 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2010 6:31 pm
 

Twins still unsure of Morneau's return

Justin Morneau finally is having many more good days than bad while battling post-concussion syndrome and for that, the Twins are thrilled.

But as for when we'll next see Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP who hasn't played since July 7, Morneau isn't far enough along to where the Twins feel they can address that definitively.

"He continues to make progress," Twins general manager Bill Smith says. "I don't know if he'll be back this year or not. As I've said, we're not going to do anything to jeopardize his long-term health or his long-term career.

"Those two things are much more important than whether he plays next week, or next month."

Morneau was hitting .345 with a 1.055 slugging percentage when he left the game on July 7. He had 18 homers and 56 RBIs in 81 games. He was set up for another monster year.

Then, bam.

Troublesome thing is, this isn't Morneau's first bout with a concussion in the majors, it isn't his first bout with a concussion, period. An old hockey player from Canada, Morneau had concussions on the ice before his baseball career started. He was disabled in April, 2005, with a concussion suffered when he was hit in the head with a Ron Villone pitch.

Those all feed into why the Twins and Morneau are forced to take thing so slowly this time. Good news for the club is, in Morneau's absence, Jim Thome has been incredibly productive in more at-bats than originally was planned. The Twins' depth has been a saving grace.

As for Morneau, Smith says, "Every one of us, including Justin, would love to have him back in the four hole."

Question is, when?

Likes: How much fun is this NL West race going to be these last two weeks? ... The Braves and Phillies this week. ... Watching Colorado's Todd Helton play first base. ... Watching Troy Tulowitzki swinging the way he's swinging. It's just incredible to watch. ... Looking forward to seeing Texas play this week. ... Ted Simmons, the Padres' bench coach, with his interest in managing. With all the jobs that will be open this winter, an imaginative team could make a real good hire. ... What a great thing that Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio should be OK after suffering a heart attack following the win over Notre Dame. ... Did you see that MSU-ND finish? If there are any more finishes close to that the rest of the way in college football, it's going to be a fun season. What a finish! ... Lots of good buzz about the new Hawaii Five-0 premiering this week on -- yes -- CBS, but what I love is that they kept the old theme song. That tells me right there that they're handling the show with care. ... Gotta get to the movie theater to see The Town. Don't know when I'll have time, but it looks like a winner.

Dislikes: Get the maple bats out of the game before someone gets killed. Come on, what's it going to take?

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Now me and my mate were back at the shack
"We had Spike Jones on the box
"She said, "I can't take the way he sings
"But I love to hear him talk"
"Now that just gave my heart a throb
"To the bottom of my feet
"And I swore as I took another pull
"My Bessie can't be beat"

-- The Band, Up on Cripple Creek

Posted on: October 13, 2009 12:33 am
 

Colorado's Street with no name

DENVER -- It was about as difficult a way to lose as there is.

Colorado scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth Monday to take a two-run lead, 49,940 purple-clad fans were ready for the ride to continue and closer Huston Street moved the club to within one strike of sending this NL Division Series back to Philadelphia.

And then blam, blam, blam.

Chase Utley drew a two-out walk on a full-count pitch, Ryan Howard followed with a game-tying double and Jayson Werth followed that with a base hit that scored what would be the winning run.

Manager Jim Tracy removed Street in favor of Joe Beimel at that point, but it was too late.

"I'm in shock, really," Street said after the 5-4 loss in the library-quiet Rockies clubhouse. "I tried to focus as much as I could on every pitch."

But he still couldn't stop the game from unraveling on him.

"I was out there fighting as hard as I could fight," continued Street, who was tagged with two losses and a blown save in the series. "Sometimes you get beat."

Across the way, Phillies closer Brad Lidge, who has been there all too often himself this year, took a moment out from the champagne shower to sympathize.

"Huston Street has no reason to hang his head," Lidge said. "Maybe he gets it done against another team."

From the beginning, the Rockies knew that Philadelphia and all of their left-handed starters was going to be a difficult matchup. Really, the Rockies matched up far better with St. Louis. Though they were careful with their words publicly, many privately were hoping that the Cardinals played their way into a first-round seeding against Colorado.

But it didn't happen. And just when the Rockies thought they were ready to roll, their season came crashing down around them.

"To have the game in your hands and then have them drop three [runs] on you," said shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who struck out with two on and two out to end the game in the ninth. "We had an opportunity at the end. That's all you can ask for."

"I'm proud of every one of these guys, no doubt about it," Colorado first baseman Todd Helton said. "[Manager Jim Tracy] was talking about guys being unselfish, and there's no doubt about it.

"We do have good guys. The guys here care."

Likes: Philadelphia's Cole Hamels, the projected Game 1 starter in the NLCS and the would-have-been Game 5 starter had the Phillies-Rockies series gone that far, never made it to Colorado. His wife delivered their first baby, a boy named Caleb, last week and Hamels stayed put, preparing for Tuesday's Game 5 start if it was needed. "We would have sent him back home yesterday anyway," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. ... Colorado manager Jim Tracy is right. Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is going to be a big-time star one day. ... Sam's No. 3, a terrific breakfast joint downtown Denver. "So good it'll make ya wanna slap yo momma" says the marquee outside. And I've gotta say, as I was eating my Denver omelet Monday morning -- what else are you going to order in Denver? -- I was glad my momma wasn't with me, because the food was as advertised. ... In case you missed it when the season ended two Sunday's ago, Hal McCoy's sign-off column was exceptionally eloquent. The Hall of Famer is done as a beat writer, and reading this column, you can see why he lasted 37 years covering the Reds, one of the great runs of our time.

Dislikes: The Astros are interviewing 10 men as prospective managers. Ten? That's paralysis by analysis. If it takes a team that many interviews, then that team really isn't sure what it's looking for. Good luck, Houston fans. ... OK, I get it. Playoff ratings are up on television. Great. Now TBS and MLB, will you quit bombarding everybody with non-stop updates boasting about that fact? And if TBS doesn't pick up its camera angles, replays and certain broadcasters, the ratings won't remain up. And I'm not watching the George Lopez Show just on principle. Just as I wouldn't watch Frank TV, or whatever it was called, last year.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"And you can't find your waitress with a Geiger counter
"And she hates you and your friends and you just can't get served without her
"And the box-office is drooling, and the bar stools are on fire
"And the newspapers were fooling, and the ash-trays have retired
"'Cause the piano has been drinking, the piano has been drinking
"The piano has been drinking, not me, not me"

-- Tom Waits, The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)

Posted on: May 1, 2008 7:01 pm
 

Terrible news in Colorado

If you picked one player whose long-term absence would cripple the Colorado Rockies, it wouldn't be 2007 Most Valuable Player candidate Matt Holliday. Nor would it be face-of-the-franchise first baseman Todd Helton, nor starting pitcher Aaron Cook.

Without question, it would be shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

And losing him until at least the All-Star break with a torn tendon in his quadriceps is every bit as devastating for the Colorado Rockies as you can imagine.

Tulowitzki isn't simply a flashy glove. He wasn't just a hot Rookie of the Year candidate in '07.

No, in his one season on the job, Tulowitzki emerged as the Rockies' team leader and model player. Manager Clint Hurdle does not hesitate in saying that things turned around for the Rockies in '07 about a month into the season, when Tulowitzki steadied himself, gained some confidence and took off.

He led all NL rookies last season in hits (177), RBI (99), runs (104) and total bases (292). And according to Stats, Inc., his .987 fielding percentage is the best all-time by a rookie shortstop.

The crushing blow for the Rockies, however, is this: Tulowitzki's importance cannot be measured simply in numbers. As a rookie last season, the kid wouldn't hesitate to bark at a teammate if he thought the guy wasn't doing something the way it should be done -- or, worse yet, loafing.

The only thing that might be more rare than a rookie directing traffic in a major-league clubhouse is everybody else listening. That's the true measure of Tulowitzki's value, and how much respect he commands in the Rockies' clubhouse. Even when he was a 22-year-old rookie, the Rockies took their cues from him.

He was off to a rough start this season, hitting only .152 with one homer and 11 RBI. He already had committed two errors after being charged with only 11 in all of 2007.

The ironic thing is that Tulowitzki dropped 10 pounds over the winter, wanting to get lighter because with Kaz Matsui gone, Tulowitzki knew that he probably would spend much of this season batting second.

And always wanting to make sure to do things the right way, Tulowitzki knew that in the No. 2 hole, he would need his legs more. That particular batting slot demands moving runners over, a higher on-base percentage and perhaps even stealing more bags.

Hurdle was impressed not with the results of Tulowitzki's body-sculpting, but with the forethought that went into it. Again, there was his shortstop, anticipating a play, and then making it.

I loved Hurdle's spring quote when, after Tulowitzki made a backhanded glove-flip to second so start a double play, someone asked him whether it wasn't a little too flashy.

"Come on, guys," Hurdle responded. "Let an artist paint. Let a musician play."

He could say this partly because he knows flash is the last thing TUlowitzki is about. As the manager told me during another conversation in Arizona, "He's not about the bling. He's about trying to get outs."

In Tulowitzki's absence, those outs now will become even more difficult for a struggling Rockies club to obtain.

Colorado will miss him dearly. So, too, will baseball fans who appreciate it when a player comes along who pretty much embodies all that is right about the game.

 

Posted on: April 16, 2008 2:23 pm
Edited on: April 16, 2008 2:53 pm
 

Tulowitzki, Big Papi and the Lonesome Pine

Troy Tulowitzki was back in Colorado's lineup Tuesday night, which shouldn't exactly be a big deal, except for the fact that, with Tulo scuffling early this season, Rockies manager Clint Hurdle was moved to pull the plug on him Sunday.

Yep, while Boston manager Terry Francona gave slumping slugger David Ortiz a mental day off, on the other side of the country (but away from the media glare), Hurdle did the same with Tulowitzki. And nope, Hurdle and Francona didn't exactly come up with the idea while jointly attending a meeting of Slumping Team Leaders Anonymous.

"Good minds think alike," Hurdle quips. "We did not text. We did not call.

"I found it humorous that we go somewhere and someone asked me about Ortiz."

Good thing Hurdle can laugh at the situation, given Tulowitzki's .149 start and two errors. And good thing Tulowitzki has friends in the clubhouse who can help pick him up during the tough times.

Why, before Tuesday's game in San Diego, several Rockies were watching San Francisco play Arizona on the clubhouse televisions as the Giants' John Bowker rapped out two more hits, leaving him at a cool .600 (6-for-10) with seven RBI in his first three major-league games.

"You're down to the fourth-best player from Long Beach," Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins teased Tulowitzki, who played his college ball -- like Bowker, Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria and Oakland's Bobby Crosby -- at Cal State Long Beach.

They tease because they care, of course -- and also because they know Tulowitzki is too good to remain down-and-out. He emerged as the Rockies team leader as a rookie last summer, dazzled with the glove, hit 24 homers, finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting, drew comparisons to Cal Ripken Jr. and pretty much set himself up to win several Gold Glove awards.

"He's done a lot of good things," Hurdle says. "He's been a good story from that standpoint. I think sometimes things are overplayed and sometimes things are underplayed.

"When all is said and done, he'll get other days off. He'll be hitting, and it won't be a story."

Tulowitzki is only 23, yet he signed a six-year, $31 million deal that will keep him in Colorado through at least 2013. A year ago, Tulowitzki became the second-youngest opening day starter in Rockies franchise history. Amazing (and utterly impressive) that a year later, it's a monumental event when he's ragged enough that he's out of the lineup.

"A lot of people have affection for the way he plays the game and swings the bat," Hurdle says. "I don't think of it as anything more than a day off."

In a perfect world, Hurdle says, Tulowitzki would play roughly 150 games a season -- which, gasp, would mean taking 12 games off.

"You'd set it up for 150, and he'd probably play in 155 without injuries," Hurdle says. "He's pretty good at playing through things, too. He's got a hockey mentality. He doesn't have to be 100 percent to take the field.

"Guys who are willing to play hurt, it's hard to take them out of the lineup when they're healthy."

Tulowitzki went 0-for-3 with a walk in Tuesday night's 6-0 loss in San Diego. Chances are he'll regain his stroke soon, and his next day off will be later rather than sooner.

And no disrespect to Bowker, whose start in San Francisco has been nothing short of amazing, and nothing against Atkins' sense of humor, which is sharp ... but in the Cal State Long Beach rankings, even a slumping Tulowitzki isn't No. 4.

Likes: The frequent use of the No. 42 by so many players on Tuesday night as baseball celebrated the 61st anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. Suggestion for Commissioner Bud Selig: How about simply having every player, manager and coach wear the No. 42 every April 15 beginning next year? Robinson remains one of the game's proudest moments, a time when baseball was out in front of society as a whole in righting a longtime wrong and awarding rights to African-Americans that they should have had years earlier. Baseball should continue to trumpet the day and make everyone aware of Jackie Robinson and his everlasting meaning. ... San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler writing that "Alex Rodriguez makes $28 million this season, while the entire Marlins' payroll is $21.8 million. What's worse, I hear A-Rod hit on all their wives." ... Steve Poltz's Traveling disc. He's the guy who wrote the smash Jewel hit You Were Meant For Me, and he's a terrific lyricist with a knack for writing catchy tunes. Check him out at www.Poltz.com.

Dislikes: Tax day. Ugh. ... The end of spring break for the schoolkids. ... Erik Bedard on the 15-day disabled list so soon. ... Cleveland closer Joe Borowski, too. ... The persistent chill in the Midwest and East. I was cold just watching games from Detroit, Cleveland and Kansas City on television the past several days.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"When they borrow your money they won't pay back
"They been borrowin' from me all way, in fact
"Now they been borrowin', boy, all of my life
"I believe one day they gonna borrow my wife"

-- Champion Jack Dupree, My Next Door Neighbor

 
 
 
 
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