Dis­ap­point­ing year

Tu­low­itzki in for off-sea­son of ‘dif­fi­cult re­hab’ af­ter an­kle in­jury

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY MELISSA COUTO

Troy Tu­low­itzki still hasn’t watched the re­play footage of him rolling his an­kle a month ago.

He doesn’t want to. Nor does he need to.

“I could tell from what peo­ple told me about it that it looked bad,” Tu­low­itzki said on Wed­nes­day, speak­ing to re­porters in the Blue Jays dugout for the first time since the in­jury.

“I can usu­ally tell (when an in­jury is bad), I’m ei­ther good to go or I get off the field. So for me to sit there and roll around, it was bad.”

The all-star short­stop suf­fered torn lig­a­ments in his right an­kle when he stepped on An­gels first base­man C.J. Cron’s foot while run­ning out a ground ball dur­ing a July 28 game against Los An­ge­les at Rogers Cen­tre. Tu­low­itzki’s an­kle rolled awk­wardly, first on Cron’s foot and then against the base, and he had to be helped off the field.

Wear­ing a walk­ing boot on Wed­nes­day af­ter hav­ing a cast re­moved a day ear­lier, Tu­low­itzki said he has a “dif­fi­cult re­hab” ahead of him. He will not re­turn to the field this sea­son

but re­mains op­ti­mistic he’ll be ready for spring train­ing.

“As far as I know and what the doc­tors told me, no surgery (is needed),” Tu­low­itzki said. “(The plan is) just kind of do the pro­gram that they give me, see how I feel.

“There’s go­ing to be some bumps in the road, I know that, but all signs point to a full come­back.”

Tu­low­itzki had a down year of­fen­sively, bat­ting .249 with seven homers, 26 RBI and 40 strike­outs through 66 games.

He also missed time ear­lier in the year with a ham­string in­jury but wouldn’t use that as an ex­cuse for his poor start to the sea­son.

“I’ll put some blame on my­self that I should have been a bet­ter player this year and I’ll work hard to get bet­ter,” Tu­low­itzki said. “This year was def­i­nitely a dis­ap­point­ment for me.”

The two-time gold-glover didn’t al­ways play up to his ex­pec­ta­tions de­fen­sively ei­ther, com­mit­ting eight er­rors (all field­ing) – one less than he had through 128 games at short­stop in 2016 – and see­ing his field­ing per­cent­age dip from .983 last sea­son to .970.

Tu­low­itzki, known for his in­tensely se­ri­ous per­son­al­ity, was jovial with re­porters Wed­nes­day, even crack­ing some jokes long af­ter the scrum had sub­sided.

But when asked if he sees a po­si­tion change in his fu­ture, Tu­low­itzki was stern in his re­ply.

“I’ve had to an­swer that same ques­tion since I came out of col­lege. Now I’m sit­ting here at 32 years old, al­most 33, and I get asked the same ques­tion,” he said. “I’ll be the first one to say I’m not get­ting the job done but I feel I bring a lot to the ta­ble de­fen­sively.

“Some­times what peo­ple read into is the met­rics and the zone rat­ings or what­ever, but so much of short­stop is about be­ing able to slow the game down for your team­mates or your pitcher, tak­ing charge in the in­field. Some of those things go un­no­ticed and that’s not some­thing you can keep a stat on.

“One thing I’ve said ever since I stepped on the field - I started this as a short­stop and I’ll fin­ish it as a short­stop.”

CP PHOTO

Toronto Blue Jays short­stop Troy Tu­low­itzki, cen­tre, is helped off the field by train­ers Mike Frostad, left, and Ge­orge Poulis af­ter rolling his an­kle on July 28.

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