Tulowitzki trying to remain positive despite injury

ByColey Harvey ESPN logo
Thursday, April 4, 2019

BALTIMORE -- For the past year, Troy Tulowitzki has been desperate to prove that even after having surgery on both of the heels on his aging body, he's still a good and dependable shortstop.

He doesn't have many believing him now.

It was while running out of the right-handed hitter's batter's box at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday afternoon when Tulowitzki's hope-filled recovery from a pair of serious lower-body injuries hit a snag. This time, sudden soreness set into the 34-year-old infielder's left calf, ultimately forcing him Thursday to the 10-day injured list.

After going on the IL with a calf strain, Tulowitzki expressed disappointment about the early-season injury, while also remaining optimistic that his redemption story will have better moments later this year.

"Yeah, definitely disappointed," Tulowitzki said before the Yankees faced the Orioles in Baltimore's home opener. "To get back and to be back out there, I enjoyed it. But I mean, hey. It is what it is. No reason to make it any worse. Look on the positive side and get back with the team and help us win some games and do what I've got to do to be a good teammate. Do the stuff I've got to do in the training room and things will work out."

In a corresponding roster move with Tulowitzki's addition to the Yankees' league-leading 11-man injured list, New York recalled infielder Thairo Estrada from Triple-A. With the minor league season beginning Thursday, Estrada had just arrived in Buffalo, New York, with the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate when he got the phone call informing him he was heading to the big leagues.

Upon hearing that news, Estrada immediately grabbed a cab and headed to the airport to make the first flight he could from Buffalo to Baltimore. Tulowitzki and Yankees manager Aaron Boone had no timetable for the shortstop's return. For now, the plan is to allow him to simply rest his sore leg for a few days and then go from there.

"I'll be down for a couple days to see if the soreness goes away," Tulowitzki said. "But hopefully not too long."

This is the first time Tulowitzki has had a calf injury, he said.

Along with Tulowitzki, the Yankees are without Aaron Hicks (lower back tightness), Didi Gregorius (elbow/Tommy John surgery), Giancarlo Stanton (left biceps strain), CC Sabathia (knee/heart surgery), Luis Severino (right rotator cuff inflammation), Dellin Betances (right shoulder impingement) and Miguel Andujar (small labrum tear), among others.

To know he's part of an 11-man IL is head-scratching to Tulowitzki.

"It's really been crazy. I'm sure you guys have covered a lot of baseball, and I've never seen anything like it," he said to reporters. "It's unfortunate, but like I've shared with the guys and we were talking about it, this thing, it's never easy.

"Sometimes it makes your team a little better to test that depth, and some guys get some chances that they maybe didn't think they were going to get chances, and they ended up helping you a lot, and it builds some character, too."

With the injuries coming on top of a 2-4 start, including home losses to the Orioles and Tigers (two teams that had losing records last season), there have been questions about the Yankees' psyche as they kick off a two-city road trip, beginning Thursday.

"They're in the right frame of mind," Boone said. "We'll be better for it having gone through this, and we'll come storming out of this."

Part of the reason Boone is feeling that way comes from the belief that some of the Yankees' injured could soon be coming back.

Boone reiterated that Sabathia is one start away from ending his IL stint and joining the big league club. That likely will happen once the Yankees return home next weekend.

The manager also said Hicks has finally progressed to performing baseball activities, after having hardly done any since he was injured March 1. The center fielder was scheduled to throw Thursday, while resuming his rotational core-building exercises. In the coming days, he will hit off a tee and begin a hitting program.

"It's been now about a week where he's been feeling really well coming in every day," Boone said.