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03/22/09 6:30 PM ET

Injuries plaguing Colorado's top tier

Atkins, Tulowitzki, Hawpe remain sidelined with variety of maladies

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Rockies took the field Sunday without three of their star players: third baseman Garrett Atkins, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Brad Hawpe.

But it wasn't the usual Cactus League scenario of big-name regulars getting to sit it out and avoid a 125-mile Phoenix-to-Tucson bus jaunt. After all, these guys are on the home team down here.

spring training
cactus league
grapefruit league

No, the Rockies are a bit banged up almost two weeks before Opening Day, although there might be a bit of silver lining in all three clouds.

Atkins, still coming back from a right groin injury, continued his daily progression -- although the team still has no timetable for him. Atkins took batting practice, had ground balls hit right at him, did "a little bit of side-to-side" agility drills, made some throws to bases and was scheduled to run for the first time, although it wasn't slated to be all-out running.

"It feels OK," Atkins said. "So far, so good. It's good that we're moving forward."

Manager Clint Hurdle said the plan, mapped out with head athletic trainer Keith Dugger, is for the team to try to get Atkins into a game this week, even if it's only for a five-inning stint, and then progress from there.

Hurdle said if everything goes well, the team will "still have time" to get Atkins at-bats in Cactus League games, Minor League games or even simulated games to get him the repetition and leg strength he needs to be ready for Opening Day.

Tulowitzki, who was scratched from Saturday's game because of a slight lower back strain, said he didn't feel right after getting off the bus, but that he didn't expect it to be more than a day-to-day thing.

"It's just something that kind of crept up on me yesterday," Tulowitzki said. "I'm not a trainer nor a doctor, but from the looks of it, it appears to be [a minor injury]."

Tulowitzki said the back was "a little tight," and that he experienced some spasms. He said it's normal throughout the season to have some tightness in that area, although he's never had a serious lower back problem before. Tulowitzki said if it were the regular season, he "definitely" would have played through it.

Tulowitzki said he received normal treatment for his back, including ice and a rubdown, and he rode the exercise bike Sunday morning to loosen it up.

"We'll see how it goes," Tulowitzki said.

Meanwhile, Dugger agreed that keeping Tulowitzki out is probably best characterized as a preventative or precautionary move, and nothing to get too concerned about right now.

"It's not uncommon for guys to go on a long bus trip and something's [wrong]," Dugger said.

The same could be said for Hawpe's left hamstring tweak, which occurred in Friday's game against the Texas Rangers.

"Yesterday, he felt better," said Dugger, who added that Hawpe played catch but hasn't resumed baseball activities such as batting practice or fly-ball shagging. Dugger said Hawpe would continue to do light strength exercises before progressing.

"I'm feeling good," Hawpe said. "I just have to take another day or so, I guess."

Doug Miller is reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.