Tulo visiting specialist about injured shoulder

Tulo visiting specialist about injured shoulder

ATLANTA -- Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has temporarily left the team to visit a specialist about the crack in his shoulder blade, and the Blue Jays hope to have a better idea about a return date in the coming days.

Tulowitzki sustained a crack in his left shoulder blade during a collision with center fielder Kevin Pillar on Saturday. The tentative timetable for his return was two to three weeks, but the Blue Jays said all along it would take a little bit of time before they knew for sure.

Doctors had to wait for swelling in the area to subside before they could get a better read on the healing process and possible damage done to some muscles in the same area. The specialist should be able to determine that and provide a more defined rehab schedule.

"He's feeling better, that's what they say, whatever that means," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He was having trouble lifting his arm, I know that. He's feeling better, he's progressing but I don't think he can go out there and throw a baseball or swing a bat."

If Tulowitzki is required to miss a full three weeks, that would have him returning on the final weekend of the regular season. That seems to be the optimistic prognosis and there's still no guarantee that Tulowitzki will be able to return for the postseason. Toronto will know more about that relatively soon.

Ryan Goins will continue to fill in at shortstop during Tulowitzki's absence while Cliff Pennington takes over the everyday duties at second. Tulowitzki was hitting .232 with a .314 on-base percentage and a .682 OPS in 39 games since joining the Blue Jays prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Worth noting

• Gibbons said that Russell Martin will be behind the plate for knuckleballer R.A. Dickey's next scheduled start on Saturday. Josh Thole has been Dickey's regular catcher since the beginning of August, but the Blue Jays want Martin and Dickey to begin working together again in preparation for the postseason.

• Gibbons also said that right-hander Marcus Stroman has been battling the flu this week. Stroman flew to Toronto early in preparation for Friday's start against the Red Sox and he is expected to be well enough to pitch in that game.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.