Found July 15, 2013 on MLB Injury News:
Left thigh strain, right thumb laceration, left wrist fracture, left groin surgery, right rib fracture. It’s a list that sounds like the results of a bad car accident. It’s also just a portion of the list of injuries Troy Tulowitzki has suffered in the past six seasons. Referred to as “Tulo” by the masses at Coors Field, the All-Star shortstop has been a fixture in the Rockies line-up for eight years.  For the past month, however, he has been a fixture on the disabled list, a position he is unfortunately all too familiar with. Heading into 2013, the Rockies were coming off of an incredibly disappointing 2012 season, finishing last in the NL West with almost 100 losses. They are in a division with the high-priced, high-expectation Los Angeles Dodgers, and the reigning World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. No major roster moves were made by the Rockies in the offseason, and it was hard to see any reason why they would fare much better in 2013 than they did in 2012. Tulowitzki looked to be one of only a few bright spots on an otherwise unimpressive roster. Much to the surprise of many, by the time the season had hit mid-June, the Rockies were in second place in the NL West, only 2.5 games back of the Diamondbacks. It’s easy to point to the reason why. Tulowitzki was having an incredible year, and was near the top of the list of contenders for the NL MVP award. Heading into the season, he was a 20-1 bet to win the award. By mid-June, those odds were up to 6-1. By June 13th, he was hitting .347, second in the National League, and had 16 homers. Playing one of the most important positions on the field, he was contributing on offensive and defense, and was one of the most important reasons why his previously abysmal team was in contention. Then came one of the only things that could have put a skid on his All-Star season: a trip to the disabled list. Tulowitzki fractured a rib during a game against Washington, sending him to the disabled list for 4-6 weeks. No stranger to injury, it was another chapter in his injury-riddled storyline. He played 155 games in his first year in the big leagues in 2007 and has not played more than that in a season since. The last time there was discussion of Tulowitzki being in contention for the MVP nod was in 2010. Much like earlier this season, he started the year incredibly strong, only to be sent to the disabled list with a broken wrist on June 17th. He was voted to the All-Star Team but couldn’t play because of his injury.  When he rejoined the Rockies, he didn’t seem to skip a beat. He hit 14 homeruns between September 3rd and September 18th, and won NL Player of the Week two weeks in a row. He got NL Player of the Month award that month too. His performance that September was on par with Babe Ruth, the only other player to hit 17 or more homeruns and have 43 RBI’s in the month of September. He led MLB shortstops in almost every category: homeruns, RBI’s, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. He was hands-down the best shortstop in the league that year, despite his injury, and he ended up fifth in MVP voting. Joey Votto ran away with the vote. Why did he get it over Tulowitzki? His team made the playoffs, and the Rockies didn’t. Does Tulowitzki still have a chance to win the MVP award this season? The answer to that question lies not only in how well Tulowitzki can perform when he returns, but also how well the Rockies can perform down the stretch. If they can top the division, he has a much better chance of getting the award. The two seem to be mutually contingent; the Rockies need Tulowitzki to perform well in order to win the division, and if the Rockies win the division, he can win the MVP award. There are countless examples of players who have incredible numbers, but don’t get the MVP votes because they aren’t playing on a contending team. It’s a question that comes up every year, and the answer is always that team record matters. Mike Trout lost to Miguel Cabrera last year, likely because of a comparison of their team’s records. This season, Carlos Gomez is playing an MVP-worthy season, but his team is so far out of contention it is hard to believe he will be given serious consideration. Paul Goldschmidt, another top contender for NL MVP, plays for the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks. This could be the biggest difference between the chances of Tulowitzki and Goldschmidt- whichever player’s team sits atop the NL West (if either) will have the better chance to take home the award. The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) does not clearly define what it means to be “most valuable” but instead leaves the decision up to each individual voter. It’s clear that one of the most valued characteristics of an MVP is the ability to help their team contend, and Tulowitzki was doing as good a job as anybody before he got injured. The Rockies went 9-16 in the 25 games they played without him. They were two games above .500 when he left, and are now five games under, which speaks volumes to his value to this team. Carlos González is holding the team together in Tulowitski’s absence, making his own case for the NL MVP award. Thanks to his efforts, the Rockies sit at 3rd place in a very tight National League West. If Tulowitzki can bounce back from his injury and help his team rise to the top of the division, it will only further emphasize how important he is to the team, and how worthy he is of the MVP award. Tulowitzki rejoined the team this weekend and played in three out of the four games in the series against the Dodgers. He went 0-8 but knocked in a run on a sac fly on Friday. Wearing a protective vest under his jersey, he says he is happy to be back on the field and feeling good after playing full games at full speed.  He is going to need to do a lot better than 0-8 if he wants to win the award and lead his team to the post-season. Being in the line-up every day is a good place to start. Follow Erin on Twitter @ErinLikesSports Follow @mlbinjurynews Looking for fantasy baseball advice?

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