Tulowitzki insists he will return as Jays shortstop in 2019

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              FILE - In this  Thursday, April 6, 2017, file photo, Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki gets Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria out at second and relays the throw to first in time to turn a double play on Brad Miller during the fourth inning of a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla. Troy Tulowitzki insists he wants to regain his job as everyday shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays next season, even though the five-time All-Star has not played in more than a year. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
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TORONTO (AP) — Troy Tulowitzki insists he wants to regain his job as everyday shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays next season, even though the five-time All-Star has not played in more than a year.

Tulowitzki, who had surgery to remove bone spurs from both heels in early April, was ruled out for the season Saturday. He expects to be healthy in time for spring training.

“It’s been a tough year to say the least,” Tulowitzki said. “I went out to Florida, was out there on those back fields almost every day trying to go and it just didn’t respond the way I needed to come back and play every day.”

The Blue Jays have used eight players at shortstop in Tulowitzki’s absence, with Aledmys Diaz getting the bulk of the playing time. A defiant Tulowitzki, a two-time Gold Glove Award winner, said he has no interest in shifting positions when he returns and is happy to compete for his job.

“I welcome anything,” Tulowitzki said. “If someone’s better than me, I’ll pack my bags and go home.”

Tulowitzki is owed $20 million next season and $14 million in 2020. He has a $15 million club option for 2021 with a $4 million buyout.

The bone spurs bothered Tulowitzki during his offseason recovery from surgery to repair the ligament damage and fracture suffered when he stepped on C.J. Cron’s foot while trying to beat out an infield hit in a July 2017 game against the Los Angeles Angels. Tulowitzki has not played since.

The oft-injured Tulo has missed at least 30 games in seven straight seasons and eight of the past nine.