8/16/2014 7:09 P.M. ET
Tulo hopes surgery helps prevent leg injuries
By Thomas Harding and Cody Ulm / MLB.com
DENVER -- Unless something happens to change his address, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is in for a long and productive career with the Rockies -- as long as he avoids injury. In many ways, Todd Helton lived Tulowitzki's future.
Tulowitzki has something else in common with Helton now -- surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. However, Tulowitkzi had it Friday at age 29, at a much earlier stage than Helton, who had it at the end of his next-to-last season, 2012, when he was going on 39.
Both Helton, whose jersey No. 17 is being retired Sunday, and Tulowitzki, tried to play through the labrum tear long before deciding on surgery.
"Todd and Tulo were similar and we both knew that they had the tear; I can say it now," said Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said. "A lot of times, guys have them, but when it's symptomatic and it gets to that point, then you do something about it.
"With Todd, you could see him out there, even on defense, when he was a little bit limited. He couldn't get over that pinching sensation. He also had a little bit of a groin strain in there. The [surgery] helped take away a little bit of his back pain."
So by getting it fixed with plenty of good years left, Tulowitzki and the Rockies hope this means not only increased health in 2014, but less of a risk for the leg injuries that have been nearly a constant throughout Tulowitzki's career.
Tulowitzki's latest injury, which occurred July 19 while running to first base after putting a ball in play during a game in Pittsburgh, was a left hip flexor strain. Tulowitzki knew all along the labrum was torn, but he was hoping the hip flexor would heal enough to allow him to play through the labrum issue. But when Tulowitzki felt hip pain whenever he ramped up his activity, it was a clear sign that he couldn't put off fixing the labrum.
Now Tulowitzki can spend the winter rehabbing the hip without dealing with an underlying injury. It doesn't mean concern about leg muscle injuries will go away, but it's best to have the area fixed as much as possible.
"You always have a little bit of instability, but there are plenty of professional athletes who take care of the tears and have very successful careers and have no issues," Dugger said.
Dugger also said that it won't be clear exactly what is going on in the left knee patella tendon of outfielder Carlos Gonzalez until doctors conduct their surgery Monday.
"We call it neurotic tissue -- it's the part of the tissue has either been torn, or split and it's just kind of chewed up and mangled," Dugger said.
Also, Dugger said the Rockies will be conservative with left-handed pitcher Brett Anderson, who had surgery Friday to repair a large-size ruptured disk in his lower back. For the next two weeks, he'll be limited to walking before beginning limited exercise.
Cuddyer activated from disabled list
DENVER -- After missing 63 games with a fractured shoulder, Michael Cuddyer was back with the Rockies and would have been in the lineup for Saturday's game, batting fourth and starting at first base. The game was postponed due to a broken water main near Coors Field.
For the corresponding moves to activate Cuddyer from the 60-day disabled list, the Rockies transferred left-hander Brett Anderson (back surgery) to the 60-day DL and optioned first baseman Ben Paulsen to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Cuddyer has been out since June 5, when he fractured his left shoulder while attempting to make a diving stop at third in ninth inning of the Rockies' 12-7 loss to Arizona.
Cuddyer returned to the Rockies Friday after an eight-game rehab assignment. He spent five games the Rockies' Rookie Ball affiliate and another three with Double-A Tulsa, finishing 13-for-30 with six doubles and nine RBIs.
"The thing is, when you're out two-plus months, it's basically about getting my feet under me again," Cuddyer said. "That was what was good about staying down there for as long as I did. I was able to work out the kinks. I feel good and excited and I'm ready to get back."
Keeping with the Rockies' theme of bad breaks this season, Cuddyer's return comes just a few days after the team announced Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez would both undergo season-ending surgeries.
"It's unfortunate," Cuddyer said. "It stinks, it's not fair but it is what it is. I know those guys are going to do everything in their power to get back where they were prior to the injuries."
Cuddyer, a free agent after this season, was batting .317 (38-for-120) with five home runs and 16 RBIs through 31 games season prior to the injury.
The 35-year-old is expected to see regular playing time down the stretch despite the Rockies being out of contention. Cuddyer is hoping to use the Rockies' final 40 games to prove his health to a organization he hopes to remain with.
"I'm not saying I'm going to light it up but I'm not saying I'm going to come up and stink," Cuddyer said. "But I feel normal about being on a baseball field again which is why I went down there for eight games."
Morneau, LeMahieu nursing injuries
DENVER -- Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau was a late scratch for Saturday's matchup against the Reds, which was postponed due to a broken water main. The team announced before the game that Morneau is dealing with a stiff neck.
He was to join second baseman DJ LeMahieu on the bench, who has a sore ankle stemming from Ramon Santiago's takeout slide at second in the fourth inning of Friday's 3-2 loss to the Reds.
Making his first start since fracturing his left shoulder on June 5, Michael Cuddyer was to move from right field to first to replace Morneau. Likewise, Charlie Blackmon was going to shift from center to right and Drew Stubbs would have gotten the start in center.
LeMahieu remained in Friday's game after being rough up on Santiago's slide but Charlie Culberson was going to start in his place Saturday.
Manager Walt Weiss said he might keep LeMahieu out of the lineup Sunday as well to give him three days of rest including Monday's off-day.
"Maybe if he's still a little sore tomorrow that's not a bad way to go," Weiss said. "Knowing DJ, he'll come in tomorrow and say he's 100 percent."
If he decides to go that route, Weiss will be hoping the extended time off will help LeMahieu, who is batting .190 (16-for-91) with 26 strikeouts over the last four weeks, turn a corner.
"I like to pick spots sometimes when you see guys get beat up a little by the game to try and give them a breather," Weiss said. "It doesn't hurt when you're struggling a little bit. Sometimes, it just takes watching the game from the bench to realize it's not as hard as you're making it. I remember that as a player, sometimes it simplified the game for me when I got to watch and decide."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Cody Ulm is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.