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Tulowitzki expected to return by this weekend

BALTIMORE -- Troy Tulowitzki continues to see a lot of progress in his cracked left shoulder blade, and now it seems like only a matter of time before he gets back into the Blue Jays' lineup.

Tulowitzki took batting practice for the second consecutive day on Tuesday afternoon, but unlike his previous round, this one wasn't cut short because of rain. With inclement weather scheduled for the Baltimore area Tuesday evening, Tulowitzki took the field early at 2:30 p.m. ET to make sure he got a full workout in.

The 30-year-old spoke with reporters after his batting practice was over, and he said he felt great. There's a chance he will play against the Orioles on Thursday, and if that doesn't happen, all signs point to a return against Tampa Bay this weekend.

"I don't think what's going on there is whether my bone doesn't heal or the muscles don't heal, they're going on my feel," Tulowitzki said. "I'm good enough to take swings, and I'm good enough to take ground balls, and now it's just about tomorrow giving them good feedback: 'Hey I took a lot of swings and a lot of hard swings, and I feel good.'

"I think that's what their concern is, not to rush this thing as far as saying, 'OK, hey, well you say you feel good but go out there and play a game and really get after it and see how it responds.'"

Tulowitzki likely will have to play through some discomfort even when he returns, but the goal is to get the pain tolerance to a level that will be manageable for the next several weeks. There doesn't appear to be any concern about aggravating the injury, but instead the focus is on making sure he can play without any major restrictions.

The cracked scapula is one thing, but the club also has to monitor all of the muscles in the surrounding area. That's what has the ability to cause some issues. Tulowitzki has been attempting to combat those concerns by doing daily strengthening exercises.

Tulowitzki's work in the field shouldn't be impacted by the injury. Although, it can impact his abilities at the plate. A full round of batting practice was one of the final tests Tulowitzki had to pass before receiving clearance to play, and as long as he feels fine Wednesday morning, his return should be imminent.

"Yeah, definitely, especially with where we're headed," Tulowitzki said when asked if he was allowing himself to get excited about the possibility of a return in the near future. "I think you play this game and you dream about [playoffs]. I hadn't been to the playoffs since 2009, so even though I'm a veteran player, any time you go to the playoffs is special.

"It gives you a chance to win that ring that you chase, or just have those experiences that make you that much better of a player and share it with your teammates. It's always special, something you'll never forget."

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