DENVER -- These cold January days are, in an important way, the brightest the Rockies have seen in some time. That's because shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez are back on the field hitting, throwing and, in Tulowitzki's case, fielding.
At close to the same time in August, Tulowitzki underwent surgery to repair his torn left hip labrum and Gonzalez had surgery to repair the patellar tendon in his left knee. Now doctors have cleared both Rockies All-Stars for activity.
"Tulo was in Denver last week just for a couple days for a routine checkup on his progress, and everything's great," Rockies senior vice president and general manager Jeff Bridich said. "He's swinging fully, he's taking full batting practice in the cage, and this week he's starting to add taking ground balls in the infield and really starting to ramp up the pure baseball activity."
Gonzalez revealed to a reporter from his native Venezuela this week that he has been cleared for on-field batting practice and straight-ahead running, and the star slugger will be allowed to change directions when Spring Training begins.
"In terms of being on schedule and recovering well, they're really not having any hiccups -- knock on wood. CarGo is in town right now," said Bridich, who added that Gonzalez's left index finger, where a benign tumor was removed last year, also has healed and the outfielder is throwing. "He's going through the routine check-ins, and he's exactly on schedule. We're hopeful to get him on the field sometime soon. Obviously, it's winter here, so it's tough."
Both Rockies stars are expected to attend Saturday's Rockies Fest at Coors Field, but they will soon head back to better weather. Tulowitzki lives in Las Vegas, while Gonzalez resides in Orlando, Fla.
But don't expect a large amount of activity from either during Spring Training games, especially early.
"It's smart not to play these guys a lot in the spring, since I see them playing a lot during the season," manager Walt Weiss said.
Bridich added, "Even if these guys were fully healthy and there were no issues with offseason rehab or anything like that, they're starting to get into a period of their careers and lives where they can focus on working smarter rather than harder or longer."