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Tulo says he'll be back by postseason

Blue Jays shortstop takes BP for first time since injury

BALTIMORE -- Troy Tulowitzki is feeling a lot better, and before Monday night's 4-3 victory over the Orioles, the Blue Jays shortstop declared that he would "definitely" be ready for the postseason.

Tulowitzki's comments came before the Blue Jays lowered their magic number to clinch the American League East to two while also pulling a full game ahead of the Royals for the top record in the league and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Tulowitzki has been out since Sept. 12 with a cracked left shoulder blade and soreness in the surrounding muscles. He was originally ruled out two to three weeks, but there had been some questions about whether Tulowitzki would return this year.

Those concerns were alleviated when Tulowitzki took on-field batting practice for the first time since he sustained the injury during a collision with center fielder Kevin Pillar.

Video: [email protected]: Blue Jays TV on Tulo's timetable for return

"I think I am getting close," Tulowitzki said. "I have been cautious just because I hadn't took those swings yet. Now that was the last step, BP and coming out of there fine, tells me I'm definitely getting real close."

The positive development came despite the fact that Tulowitzki's batting practice was cut short because of rain. He was limited to three swings before the skies opened up and forced players off the field so the grounds crew could cover the grass with a tarp.

As a result, Tulowitzki ended up doing most of his work in the batting cage. He took an additional 40 swings and felt great afterward. The biggest test will come Tuesday morning when Tulowitzki sees how he feels, but the veteran infielder doesn't anticipate any problems.

Toronto manager John Gibbons mentioned Monday that it's possible Tulowitzki will play during the four-game series in Baltimore. If that doesn't happen, the club likely would look to get him into a game during the final series of the season this weekend against the Rays in St. Petersburg.

Tulowitzki has been taking ground balls for the last week while gradually increasing his other baseball activities. Hitting without any kind of restrictions is the final and most difficult obstacle left to overcome.

"Definitely the hitting, defensively out there I feel like myself, I've been running the bases, doing things like that, hitting is the last thing, this is the first time I've hit live and today went well," Tulowitzki said when asked about his biggest challenge.

"A lot depends on how these next couple of days go. Hopefully we can clinch ... the weather might play a part. I definitely want to be out there, but I want to make the right decision."

Ryan Goins will continue to receive most of the playing time at shortstop during Tulowitzki's absence. That leaves Cliff Pennington and Darwin Barney to platoon at second.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.
Read More: Toronto Blue Jays, Troy Tulowitzki