Tulo making slow progress, timetable unknown

July 20th, 2018
Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson, left, talks with teammate Troy Tulowitzki at baseball spring training in Dunedin, Fla., Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)Frank Gunn/AP

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays still have no idea when will return to the lineup, but manager John Gibbons is, at least publicly, holding out hope it will happen this season.

Tulowitzki has yet to play a game in 2018 following surgery this spring to remove bone spurs in both of his feet. Since the procedure was performed, there have been very few medical updates from the club on his status, and the former All-Star appears to be recovering extremely slowly.

Per a Blue Jays spokesman on Friday afternoon, Tulowitzki continues to go through a "running progression" at the Blue Jays' Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla. He is participating in regular baseball drills -- fielding and batting practice -- but there is no timetable for his return.

"I'd like to see him," Gibbons said. "I think for his own good, it would be [positive] ... At this stage of his career, especially. Nobody is more frustrated than he is."

The reason behind Toronto's lack of medical updates on Tulowitzki doesn't have anything to do with transparency. The Blue Jays' public relations department regularly provides health information on its injured players, but in this case, it appears to stem from the fact that the player's body has been so slow to respond.

The Blue Jays have provided updates on the latest progression from other players on the DL -- Josh Donaldson, Danny Barnes and , among others -- but for Tulowitzki, it has been mostly status quo. Earlier he was running on an anti-gravity machine, now he's running on flat ground and going through light baseball work, but it doesn't seem like he will be back any time soon.

Gibbons said he would not hesitate to insert Tulowitzki back into the starting lineup upon his return, even though the Blue Jays have been putting more of an emphasis on making sure their younger players receive long looks in what has otherwise become a lost season.

"[The younger players will] play, but I also think that Tulo's signed up here for a couple of years," Gibbons said. "He's still a part of the team right now. There's always a way to find time for those young guys."

Injury updates

• Donaldson is currently going through a running program with "good intensity" at Toronto's Minor League complex. The 32-year-old hasn't played since May 28 because of a strained left calf muscle, and there is no timeframe for his return.

• Barnes threw a live practice session during the All-Star break and is scheduled to repeat that process again on Saturday. The 28-year-old has been out since June 21 because of left knee tendinitis, and he will be re-evaluated for game action next week.

• Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who sustained a concussion during a game against the Red Sox on July 14, has been going through Major League Baseball's testing protocol without any issues. He was expected to advance to a higher level of cardio activities on Friday and will continue to increase the level of his baseball-related activities pending good health. Gurriel is eligible to return from the DL on Sunday.

• Center fielder , who sustained a sprained right sternoclavicular joint during the same July 14 game against Boston, has been going through range of motion exercises. He is scheduled to be re-evaluated prior to the start of Toronto's road trip on Wednesday to determine the next steps of his rehab. Pillar is expected to be out for at least another two to five weeks.

• Right-hander Sanchez is working out in Dunedin as he rehabs from a contusion on his right middle finger. Sanchez is playing catch and will progress to mound work when ready. He does not appear close to a return and will eventually require a rehab assignment, so the Blue Jays are set to move forward with a rotation of , , , Sam Gaviglio and the trade target J.A. Happ.

Urena called up

The Blue Jays recalled infielder from Triple-A Buffalo on Friday afternoon. Toronto had an open spot on the 25-man roster after was optioned to the Minors earlier in the week. Urena was batting .235 with a .602 OPS in 41 games for the Bisons this season.