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Tulowitzki in for off-season of "difficult rehab" after ankle injury


TORONTO — Troy Tulowitzki still hasn't watched the replay footage of him rolling his ankle a month ago.

He doesn't want to. Nor does he need to.

"I could tell from what people told me about it that it looked bad," Tulowitzki said on Wednesday, speaking to reporters in the Blue Jays dugout for the first time since the injury.

"I can usually tell (when an injury is bad), I'm either good to go or I get off the field. So for me to sit there and roll around, it was bad."

The all-star shortstop suffered torn ligaments in his right ankle when he stepped on Angels first baseman C.J. Cron's foot while running out a ground ball during a July 28 game against Los Angeles at Rogers Centre. Tulowitzki's ankle rolled awkwardly, first on Cron's foot and then against the base, and he had to be helped off the field.

Wearing a walking boot on Wednesday after having a cast removed a day earlier, Tulowitzki said he has a "difficult rehab" ahead of him. He will not return to the field this season but remains optimistic that he'll be ready for spring training.

"As far as I know and what the doctors told me, no surgery (is needed)," Tulowitzki said. "(The plan is) just kind of do the program that they give me, see how I feel.

"There's going to be some bumps in the road, I know that, but all signs point to a full comeback."

Tulowitzki had a down year offensively, batting .249 with seven homers, 26 RBIs and 40 strikeouts through 66 games.

He also missed time earlier in the year with a hamstring injury but wouldn't use that as an excuse for his poor start to the season.

"I'll put some blame on myself that I should have been a better player this year and I'll work hard to get better," Tulowitzki said. "This year was definitely a disappointment for me."

The two-time gold-glover didn't always play up to his expectations defensively either, committing eight errors (all fielding) — one less than he had through 128 games at shortstop in 2016 — and seeing his fielding percentage dip from .983 last season to .970.

Tulowitzki, known for his intensely serious personality, was jovial with reporters Wednesday, even cracking some jokes long after the scrum had subsided.

But when asked if he sees a position change in his future, Tulowitzki was stern in his reply.

"I've had to answer that same question since I came out of college. Now I'm sitting here at 32 years old, almost 33, and I get asked the same question," he said. "I'll be the first one to say I'm not getting the job done but I feel I bring a lot to the table defensively.

"Sometimes what people read into is the metrics and the zone ratings or whatever, but so much of shortstop is about being able to slow the game down for your teammates or your pitcher, taking charge in the infield. Some of those things go unnoticed and that's not something you can keep a stat on.

"One thing I've said ever since I stepped on the field — I started this as a shortstop and I'll finish it as a shortstop."

Melissa Couto, The Canadian Press

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