DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki says the bone spur in his right foot is feeling a lot better, but he stopped short of saying that he would be ready for the start of the season.Tulowitzki has dealt with a bone spur in his right heel throughout a
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki says the bone spur in his right foot is feeling a lot better, but he stopped short of saying that he would be ready for the start of the season.
Tulowitzki has dealt with a bone spur in his right heel throughout a 12-year career in the big leagues, but it became a bigger issue this offseason when he was rehabbing a severely sprained right ankle. The initial hope was that he would be a full participant in Spring Training, but that's no longer realistic.
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The 33-year-old has been jogging, going through some light fielding drills and taking batting practice but that has been the extent of his baseball activities. Tulowitzki has yet to begin running and all of his infield work has been limited to light tosses within a confined space instead of fielding balls off the bat.
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"I'm not going to put any timetables on it," Tulowitzki said when asked if he would be ready for Opening Day. "Obviously that's the goal but there are still so many days in front of us here in Spring Training. I definitely want to be out there but I'm not going to say, 'Yeah, sure.' I'm going to take it day by day and see where it takes me."
Tulowitzki sat down with Blue Jays manager John Gibbons after reporting to camp and explained his situation. Toronto intends to take a cautious approach to avoid another setback and that likely will involve Tulowitzki sitting out of fielding drills for at least another week or two. He'll continue to take batting practice but any other activities will remain limited for the moment.
Toronto at least can take some solace in the fact that the organization is better prepared to handle this situation than it was a year ago. The Blue Jays fully expected for Tulowitzki and possibly even second baseman Devon Travis, to miss some time this season and that's one of the main reasons the ballclub made it a top priority to increase its infield depth. Enter, Yangervis Solarte, Aledmys Diaz and Mpho' Ngoepe.
"We definitely added some good players," Tulowitzki said. "Some guys that have some potential. Some guys that, if there were days, that were given to me, or Devon, can step in there and definitely have quality at-bats, do their job in the field and help the team win ballgames. I think we're all excited about the guys we added, and hopefully they can contribute to us winning games."
Paying tribute to Doc
The Blue Jays are wearing a No. 32 crest on their uniforms this spring in honor of the late Roy Halladay, who tragically passed away following a plane crash during the offseason. Halladay is a future Hall of Famer and is known for being one of the greatest pitchers in franchise history.
Toronto previously announced that it would be retiring Halladay's number on Opening Day, prior to a game against the Yankees on March 29. John Gibbons was Halladay's manager with the Blue Jays for parts of six seasons from 2004-09 and said the organization should be doing everything possible to honor one of the all-time greats.
"It means a lot, he should be recognized," Gibbons said. "It was a tragedy. I don't know anybody who ever came across Doc that didn't love the guy. He wasn't an easy guy to get to know, but you loved everything about him because he was a gentleman and a stand-up guy. In the profession we're in, he was the best in the game. I think it's a nice honor, but it's still very sad."
"If I want the pitcher out of there, I can still do it, right? I can make my own pitching changes so I kind of like that. I don't have to wait for the pitching coach to come out and give him the hook when I thought the guy should have been out of there two hitters ago." -- Tulowitzki, joking when asked about Major League Baseball's new pace of play rules that will limit mound visits to six times per game
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.