Blue Jays shortstop Tulowitzki to see ankle specialist

Toronto Blue Jays' Troy Tulowitzki throws to first base in his first appearance since returning from the DL against the Texas Rangers in first inning American league action in Toronto, Friday, May 26, 2017. (Jon Blacker/CP)

MONTREAL – Troy Tulowitzki is slated to visit an ankle specialist Wednesday to help determine what the next steps are in the injured Toronto Blue Jays shortstop’s recovery.

General manager Ross Atkins declined to get into specifics but Tulowitzki is dealing with bone spurs in his right ankle inflamed by the gruesome injury he suffered last July 28, when he caught C.J. Cron’s heel with his foot as he landed on first base.

“We’ll have clarity (Wednesday) on it,” said Atkins. “(Wednesday) I’ll have a lot more information. We obviously have a lot of information from the course of the off-season and after putting all the information together, there’s another specialist we’d like to see and he’d like to see.”

In an interview with Sportsnet over the weekend, Tulowitzki said he’s been able to hit and take groundballs without problems but that there’s too much pain while running.

When asked what it would take to get him over the hump, he replied, “I wish I had some answers for you. We’re still at the drawing board in trying to figure out what is best, if that’s from stuff in the weight room as far as strengthening stuff, is that from a rest standpoint, is that from an injection standpoint, is that from whatever different thing in trying to figure out what’s best for me and what’s causing my pain.”

Tulowitzki added that the bone spurs predated his ankle injury, he guessed he’d dealt with them for the past 3-5 seasons, and weren’t problematic enough to keep him off the field.

“It’s not playing through pain,” he said, “it’s playing through what you have and it’s been more than enough to take the field every single day.”

The potential options may include surgery.

On Tuesday, New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird underwent surgery to remove a small broken spur on the outside of his right ankle, a procedure expected to sideline him for 6-to-8 weeks.

The doctor’s recommendations are sure to impact the Blue Jays’ roster manoeuvrings as they need to create room on the 40-man roster for relievers John Axford and Tyler Clippard, who are expected to make the team. Another spot might be needed if Danny Espinosa wins the backup infielder’s role, but the Blue Jays may very well opt to go with Gift Ngoepe’s defence instead.

If Tulowitzki’s absence is an extended one, the Blue Jays could place him on the 60-day disabled list to clear one spot on the 40-man.

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