SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has often said being out of the lineup is difficult. It was darn tough Friday afternoon.As part of his comeback from left groin surgery in June, Tulowitzki went through his toughest day yet, with a grueling set of movement exercises -- running and lateral movement, among others -- administered by head athletic trainer Keith Dugger at AT&T Park. "We signed up for this because we want to be out there on the field, so just watching is tough," Tulowitkzi said. "Then you have to rest and you get a little bit out of shape, so they put a whole bunch on your plate to try to catch up. That's what they're doing with me." Tulowitzki, who hasn't played since May 30, said beyond normal soreness that comes with heavy physical work, he feels good. The next major step will come when the team returns to Denver next week and Tulowitzki will field balls and make throws to first base the way he would in a game. He's been fielding but not throwing and contorting his body into unusual positions the way a shortstop must. Manager Jim Tracy warned not to get too excited because there are other steps. Tulowitzki is seven weeks into an eight-week prescribed recovery from surgery to clear scar tissue from the groin. But he is feeling more like a part of the team. "It's getting close," he said. "The stuff I can do out there now, quick steps and running, has made huge improvements. When I get back home and throw after ground balls, that'll be another big step. It seems like every week it's closer and closer."
First baseman Todd Helton's season-ending surgery on his right hip went as expected Friday. The operation, performed by Dr. James Genuario in Englewood, Colo., was to repair a torn labrum and other damage, but nothing unexpected was found, Tracy said. Helton, who turns 39 on Aug. 20, hopes to be ready for next Spring Training. Left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa, who had a couple of setbacks in his return from Tommy John elbow surgery and has yet to pitch in the Majors this year, cleared a comeback hurdle Friday by completing his second 35-pitch bullpen session at AT&T Park. He threw curveballs and changeups in addition to fastballs. After two days off, De La Rosa will throw 45 pitches and increase the intensity of his fastball. In other rehab news, outfielder-first baseman Michael Cuddyer (right oblique strain) will be evaluated Monday and could soon begin a Minor League rehab assignment. Cuddyer is eligible to return Thursday, but Dugger said he will recommend Cuddyer play at least one game in the Minors first.
First baseman Jason Giambi, who hasn't played since July 20 because of viral syndrome, has begun playing catch, running and working in the weight room but is still waiting for his energy to return.
Left-handed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez (left biceps tendinitis) is still shut down and hasn't begun working toward a comeback. Tracy said he will announce changes to the Rockies' rotation after seeing how right-hander Jhoulys Chacin -- who hasn't pitched for the club since May 1 because of a chest nerve issue -- comes out of his final scheduled rehab start, Saturday for Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.