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06/19/08 9:45 PM ET

Tulowitzki feels ready to return

Shortstop could be activated Friday if Rockies approve

DENVER -- Hours before the Rockies' series finale with the Indians on Thursday, Troy Tulowitzki joked around with teammates, fielded grounders and took batting practice at Coors Field. It was as if he'd never left.

In reality, Tulowitzki has been out since suffering a torn left quadriceps ligament April 29. Tulowitzki said he feels healthy enough to play Friday, but that decision will be made by the coaches and training staff.

"I feel real good," Tulowitzki said. "I'm excited to play -- whenever that may be. It's exciting to get back out here on the field, even if it's just BP."

Tulowitzki, originally expected to be out until the All-Star Game, began his rehab assignments on June 11 with Class A Advanced Modesto. He played five games there before joining Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday. In two games Tulowitzki went 3-for-7 with a walk, a double, an RBI and a stolen base.

The stolen base came on a 3-2 count with one out, meaning he was running because of the situation rather than because he was testing his speed. But Tulowitzki said he hasn't felt any pain in the field or running the bases.

"I'm definitely going to be cautious about it and not dive everywhere, but at the same time, play hard and do what I can," he said.

Like the Rockies, Tulowitzki got off to a poor start to the season. He was hitting .156 with one home run and 17 strikeouts through his first 26 games. The Rockies have turned it around of late, however, winning 10 of their past 14 games, and backup shortstop Omar Quintanilla has played a huge role.

Quintanilla has stopped just about everything hit his way, and he's hit safely in eight of his past nine games, including a double in four straight.

"These guys are winning with the talent they have," Tulowitzki said. "I'm just going to go in and try to mesh with the group."

Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.