Still without a timetable, Tulowitzki hopes to return in 2018


More than two months removed from surgery on both feet, Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki still doesn't have a timetable for his return, but the oft-injured 33-year-old said Tuesday he hopes to play in 2018.

"It's all on feel," Tulowitzki told Sportsnet's Arden Zwelling. "There's really no schedule. I come in every day and discuss with them how I'm feeling and give them the feedback, see how sore I am. We try to map out a plan on a weekly basis of what we’re going to try to do. But that changes, honestly, every day that I go in there."

After missing virtually the entire second half of 2017 due to an ankle injury, Tulowitzki was expected to arrive at spring training ready to go only to be slowed in February after aggravating a chronic bone spur in his right heel while rehabbing his ankle. Amid persistent discomfort, Tulowitzki was a limited participant throughout spring training, joining in only for batting practice and stationary fielding drills and prompting the club to place him on the 60-day disabled list on the eve of the regular season.

Barely 24 hours after the Blue Jays' Opening Day loss to the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre, the club announced that Tulowitzki would undergo surgery to remove bone spurs from both of his heels, sidelining him for a minimum of eight weeks.

"It’s been a frustrating offseason and this was (Tulowitzki’s) decision," Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said in March, per Melissa Couto of the Toronto Star. "He's driving it, he’s been driving the whole process. He had five ankle and foot specialists talk to him, three different physical meetings with foot and ankle specialists."

In late-April, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons announced that Tulowitzki had been cleared to resume baseball activities, but the five-time All-Star has yet to start running again. As such, while he has been hitting and taking ground balls, Tulowitzki wouldn't commit Tuesday to returning this season.

"I've got to do it the right way,” Tulowitzki said. "I think there were times in my career that I tried to play through things and maybe the product that was out there wasn't what I approved of. But I just went out there and grinded. I think this time I needed to do it this way and be selfish with it and get myself right."

Tulowitzki, acquired by the Blue Jays ahead of the 2015 trade deadline, is making $20 million this year, and is guaranteed another $38 million over the next two seasons.

In his absence, the Blue Jays have watched a coterie of fill-ins flounder at shortstop, with Aledmys Diaz, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Giovanny Urshela, Richard Urena, Gift Ngoepe, and even Russell Martin combining for -0.6 WAR and a .638 OPS.

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