MLB

Rockies SS Tulowitzki progressing with broken rib

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DENVER (AP)

Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki says his broken rib is healing and he hopes to return in time to help his team make a run at a division title.

Tulowitzki said Thursday he has begun some light throwing and the injury feels more like a ''bruise'' after two weeks on the disabled list. He was injured diving for a ball against Washington on June 13 and is projected to miss four to six weeks.

''I've been able to play some light catch and trying to keep my conditioning up,'' he said. ''I haven't been able to swing and do stuff like that. That would be the next step at some point and time, but no rush. When I'm ready, I'm ready. I don't know what that timetable will be.''

Tulowitzki was enjoying perhaps his best season before the injury, hitting .347 with 16 home runs and 51 RBIs. He leads NL shortstops in All-Star voting even though he will almost certainly miss the game at Citi Field in New York.

Tulowitzki's motivation is to get back on the field and help the Rockies compete for first place in the bunched-up NL West. Colorado began the day tied for second place with a 39-40 record but was only three games behind first-place Arizona. The five teams in the division were all within six games of each other.

''Knowing there's an opportunity there that other teams are leaving us makes me want to get back out there quicker,'' Tulowitzki said. ''No one's really running away with this thing. Stay where we're at, we always have to play better, but this thing's wide open. There's no better feeling for me going into that last month of the season when you're in it. Those games become meaningful, they become fun.''

Despite the incentive of a pennant race, Tulowitzki won't come back before he's healed.

''I've been here before so I know the right time is going to be when I'm healthy,'' he said. ''I'm not rushing this thing. We have capable players on this team.''

The Rockies are being careful with their star player, too.

''Gotten good reports on Tulo,'' manager Walt Weiss said. ''Still a ways away, so don't want to get too out in front of myself. It sounds like he's made some good progress.''

It is the second straight season that Tulowitzki has missed significant time due to injury. He played just 47 games in 2012 because of a groin injury that he initially tried to play through but eventually required surgery.

In 2008 he had two stints on the DL, with a torn quadriceps muscle and a lacerated hand.

The previous injuries were a source of frustration for Tulowitzki, but his broken rib hasn't bothered him mentally.

''Some of the other injuries the frustration level is higher because with a muscle and things like that, you can question yourself,'' he said. ''Did I do everything I possibly could to take care of that muscle and strengthen that? With a bone you really can't do that. There's no rib exercises I was going to be doing in the offseason. I dove, it broke and you deal with it.''

Tagged: Rockies, Troy Tulowitzki

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