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Tulo to undergo season-ending left hip surgery

SAN DIEGO -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki -- the National League leader in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage -- will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip. Tulowitzki said he hopes the procedure will help put an end to a series of leg muscle injuries that have hampered the last seven years of his career.

Dr. Marc Philippon, who has performed hip labrum procedures on numerous athletes, will do the arthroscopic operation Friday in Vail, Colo. Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said recovery time is five months, but Tulowitzki should be a go for Spring Training 2015.

Since suffering a torn left quadriceps early in 2008, Tulowitzki, 29, has been compensating for left leg muscles that haven't fired properly since. He battled groin problems near the 2011 All-Star break, and was limited t0 47 games in 2012 before undergoing surgery to remove scar tissue from his left groin.

"I'm looking forward to getting back and playing the game I love," Tulowitzki said Wednesday. "I will do everything I can to perform at a high level for the rest of my career. This should answer a lot of the leg issues I have had in my past."

Tulowitzki batted .340 with a .432 on-base percentage and a .603 slugging percentage before suffering a left hip flexor strain in Pittsburgh on July 19. Tulowitzki, going through extensive pregame and postgame routines for leg flexibility and maintenance, had played in 91 of the team's 97 games at the time of the injury, and was hoping to shed the "injury prone" label. But since breaking in with the Rockies in August 2006, he has exceeded 150 games played just twice.

Tulowitzki underwent a dry needling procedure July 28 in Philadelphia, performed by leg and core muscle specialist Dr. William C. Meyers, in hopes of promoting quicker healing. Tulowitzki was back taking batting practice last week and felt good swinging, but progress slowed when he tried to increase his activity.

Now Tulowitzki will have time to heal.

"Full recovery time is around five months," Dugger said. "You get pretty active right around that three-month mark, sometimes a little sooner. There are kind of guidelines at certain time periods that we follow, range of motion, strengthening exercises, then you get into functional strengthening."

The surgery could involve sutures to repair the labrum, or a cleanup of bone spurs. Dugger said once the doctor is in with the scope, he can determine if there are other issues that can be addressed.

Tulowitzki becomes the third Rockies player on the shelf for the season, and in reality it's four.

Then again, it could be five.

The others who have had season-ending surgery are starting pitchers -- righty Tyler Chatwood (Tommy John surgery) and lefty Brett Anderson (back surgery scheduled for Friday in Arizona). Additionally, righty starter Jhoulys Chacin (right rotator cuff strain and labrum damage) is doing light throwing, but chances of his return are slim.

Also, Duger said an MRI on the left knee of outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who has suffered from chronic tendinitis, showed worsening from the last time an MRI was conducted. Doctors, the training staff and Gonzalez will discuss treatment options Thursday. If the decision is surgery or methods such as plasma-rich platelet treatment or stem-cell therapy -- rather than rest and rehab -- Gonzalez, too, will miss the remainder of the season.

The injuries are among the reasons the Rockies have gone from a possible surprise contender to their current state, possessing the Majors' worst record at 46-74.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb
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