Colorado Rockies Need to Shut Down Troy Tulowitzki for the Season

Derek StaudtContributor IIIJune 22, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 25: Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies singles to drive in a run in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 25, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Rockies won 6-3. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Let’s call this a lost season.

Better yet, let’s just tell ourselves this all never happened.

It’s not even July, and the Rockies are 15 games out of the division lead and 11 back from a Wild Card spot. The record is the third worst in the league. Needless to say, Rocktober is not coming to Colorado in 2012. And that’s why the Rockies need to keep their superstar shortstop out of the lineup for the remainder of this painful season.

Troy Tulowitzki reportedly underwent a successful operation on Thursday to repair his troublesome groin. Due to the unknown condition of his injury, doctors initially did not put a timetable on his return. Now, with Tulo officially in the recovery stage, the date has been set: eight weeks.

If all goes as planned, we will still have the last five weeks of the regular season to watch the electric shortstop return to form. But Colorado’s best interest is to sit Tulo down and tell him to prepare for spring training.

No, this isn’t some ridiculous idea to tank the season or a belated “Suck for Luck” campaign. Bringing Tulo back into the lineup is simply pointless. The initial prognosis on his surgery was he could miss the rest of 2012. Instead, the eight-week return date has Rockies management pleased, as the outlook honestly could not have gone much better.

MIAMI, FL - MAY 21:  Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies is congratulated after hitting a three-run home run during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on May 21, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Regardless of the outcome, Colorado is in no position to jump the gun on Tulo’s return.

Asking the two-time Gold Glover to tone down his game is as moot as telling Mitt Romney to halt his campaign. Tulowitzki’s twirling, acrobatic plays in the field led to this rare injury. The ailment is most commonly found in hockey goalies and starting pitchers, which only raises your eyebrows at the extent of force Tulo exerts on a nightly basis.  

Shelving a player for an entire year is quite a step, but organizations have taken such actions before. Major shoulder and knee injuries, and most recently, concussions, make it most simple for management to pull the plug on a player and tell them to hit the ground running next year.

Tulowitzki’s groin issue fits the criteria. The injury has hampered the 27-year old All-Star for the past few years, but is finally on the verge of being a worry of the past. The Rockies need to take extra measures to ensure his long term health, especially since he’s a Rockie for life. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Despite the risks, we can most likely count on watching the beloved ballplayer sprint out of the dugout in late August. Tulo’s competitiveness and love for the game is unrivaled, and No. 2 is counting down the days to buttoning up the uniform once again.

His quotes from March sure don’t sound like a player who would be content watching from the bench. “For the first time in my career, I really feel like it’s my team,” he told Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

In a twisted sense of fate, Colorado won’t do anything to hold back the franchise headliner. The Rockies are 2-12 in the dark 14 days without him, and predicting their record two months from now would be more dreadful than paying to watch that absurd Abraham Lincoln vampire flick.

Public opinion of the Rockies will only sink by the week.By the time Tulo is ready to return,the Broncos will be wrapping up preseason play and orange fever will be kicking into overdrive.

With such factors in play, Rockies ticket sales may suffer, and public interest will be virtually nonexistent. Tulo may be able to at least remind the city that baseball is still in session, and some may even venture out to Coors Field before the gates close for the fall.

After all, if any player is worth the price of admission, it’s Troy Tulowitzki. Management may use their rehabbed shortstop as a way to keep the Rockies halfway relevant, or at least kick-start interest for next season.

Ultimately, it’s not a worthwhile risk.

Tulo can’t be the team leader if he can’t stay healthy. And an early return isn’t worth jeopardizing the future of one of the game’s bright young stars.

Tulo, please take care of yourself. We’ll see you in 2013.