Tulo gets first pair of All-Star cleats
Injured shortstop to spend time talking with game's greats
ANAHEIM -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will be acting as Bobby Cox on Tuesday night.
Cox, the retiring Braves manager, is beloved for a youthful spirit that endears him to players less than half his age. Tulowitzki will miss Tuesday night's 81st All-Star Game with a fractured left wrist. He's mainly going to spend the time talking baseball with the game's greats, but in his heart he'll be on the field.
"It's funny, I talked to one of the clubhouse guys and my cleats are there," Tulowitzki said. "Having that first pair of All-Star cleats, I might go Bobby Cox-style and wear my cleats in the dugout even though I have no chance of playing."
The gift to Angel Stadium, and the new spikes, are gifts for being chosen via player voting for his strong performance (.306, nine home runs, 34 RBIs) before he suffered a broken left wrist when he was hit by a pitch on June 17 at Minnesota.
But if all goes well, it won't be long before Tulowitzki puts on his playing shoes. Tulowitkzi will join the Rockies on an important road trip out of the All-Star break -- 11 games against the Reds (three games), Marlins (four) and Phillies (four). If all goes well, Tulowitzki won't rack up all those miles.
Tulowitzki said he could return in anywhere from two-to-five weeks. He has been fielding and taking batting practice and soft-toss in the batting cage, and expects to take BP on the field in Cincinnati.
"Hopefully, it's healed right but you never know with a broken bone," he said. "The wrist is so involved with hitting that it's one of those key things you've got to watch out for.
"I feel good. More than anything I'm just timid a little bit, to let it go on inside pitches, to really turn on them. It's kind of starting over, getting a feel for it. I'm babying it a little bit, going with what I can, but not pushing it too far to where I hurt myself."
The Rockies' performance in Tulowitzki's absence underscores the belief that the club is in for a special season.
The club spent the first couple of months trying to break a magnetic pull to the .500 mark. But it finished the first half 19-9, including 15-7 in Tulowitzki's absence, to improve to 49-39 and move to two games behind the Padres, the surprise leaders in the NL West.
"I like our chances," Tulowitzki said. "If you look at our track history of how we've played in the second half, we've done a good job. When we get hot, we get hot and kind of roll off some games.
"Anytime you're making a stretch run, you want to be healthy. But there have been numerous teams that have faced some adversity. Boston, with all their injuries, us and some other teams that have had some key players go down. At the same time, all those teams have done a good job keeping it close. Once everybody gets healthy, you'll see what happens."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.