ARI@COL: Cuddyer grounds an RBI single up the middle

DENVER -- Michael Cuddyer is scheduled for a follow-up MRI on his fractured shoulder July 21 when the Rockies return to Colorado for their first home series after the All-Star break.

If all is healed as expected, he'll begin his strengthening and rehab with a mid-to-late August return in mind. If it isn't healed, Cuddyer will spend a few more weeks in a sling, which would "make it tough" to return before the end of the season, possibly ending his time in Colorado.

"I'm not saying it wouldn't happen, but it would be tough," Cuddyer said. "But I'm not even thinking about that. They're fairly confident that it will be healed. Six weeks is about the right time for a bone bruise, and I've kept it in the sling and all that stuff."

Cuddyer is in the final season of a three-year, $31.5 million deal with the Rockies. Since the non-displaced fracture of his glenoid socket while making a diving play at third base on June 5, Corey Dickerson (28 extra-base hits) and Drew Stubbs (.356 average vs. left-handers) have thrived in his place. The Rockies also have outfield prospects like Kyle Parker and David Dahl in the pipeline who are looking close to being ready.

For those reasons, it makes sense the organization hasn't approached Cuddyer about a contract extension yet.

Cuddyer said "of course" he'd return if the Rockies decide to engage in those talks. But the 35-year-old knows he has to prove his health still, and he's hoping the MRI results allow him to come back and show the Rockies what they'd be missing.

Tulo returns from two-day break for groin strain

COL@WSH: Tulo's defense shines vs. Nationals

DENVER -- His manager only gave him a coin flip's chance of playing Sunday, but Troy Tulowitzki was confident his right groin injury wouldn't cost him more than two games.

The All-Star shortstop must be pretty persuasive because he was back in the lineup Sunday, batting third for the series finale against the Dodgers.

"He made a lot of improvement yesterday," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He came in today feeling even better."

Tulowitzki felt some tightness in his groin Thursday after legging out an infield single in the sixth inning of a 3-2 loss to the Dodgers. After a brief discussion with Weiss, Tulowitzki talked his way into remaining in the game. Weiss said he would have used a pinch-runner had Tulowitzki reached base again.

Weiss also said Tulowitzki was available as a pinch-hitter the past two games.

Tulowitzki entered Sunday leading the Majors in average (.350), on-base percentage (.441) and runs (66). His 18 home runs were the second most in the National League behind the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton.

Starting in Tulowitzki's place the past two days, Josh Rutledge had one hit and six strikeouts in eight at-bats. He scored a run Saturday but also registered a throwing error.

CarGo sent to Triple-A for rehab assignment

SD@COL: CarGo's double plates a pair

DENVER -- The Rockies were planning on sending Carlos Gonzalez (left index finger inflammation) out to begin his rehab assignment on Monday following another batting-practice session Sunday at Coors Field.

As it turns out, the team had trouble securing a Monday flight to Round Rock, Texas, for Gonzalez to join Triple-A Colorado Springs for a four-game road series. So, the Rockies decided to just send him out a day early.

"He'll do all pregame activities, and if [Gonzalez] checks out fine, then he's a go," Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said.

The advance flight also allows Gonzalez to get some rest in before beginning what is expected to be a short rehab assignment. The Rockies want Gonzalez back at the Major League level for a few games before the All-Star break.

With Thursday being an off-day for the Rockies before their last series of the first half against Minnesota, it seems like Gonzalez is destined for three games with Colorado Springs.

Gonzalez has been on the disabled list since June 5 and underwent surgery to remove a benign tumor from his left index finger June 10. He is batting .255 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs in 52 games.

Injured pitchers pushing rehab forward

COL@ARI: Chatwood exits early with elbow tightness

DENVER -- A Rockies rotation in desperate need of reinforcements looks closer to receiving exactly that, with Eddie Butler (right rotator cuff inflammation), Jordan Lyles (fractured left hand) and Tyler Chatwood (right flexor strain) all set to ramp up their rehab work.

After throwing a 35-pitch live batting practice session to Carlos Gonzalez on Saturday, Butler will take it easy for two days before tossing a 45-pitch simulated game Tuesday.

Lyles is set to throw 45 pitches Monday in his first bullpen session since fracturing the middle metacarpal on his left hand June 4. If all goes well, he's scheduled for a live, 30-pitch batting practice session on Friday.

Chatwood is set to throw live batting practice Wednesday for the first time since experiencing tightness in his right forearm in his previous live batting practice session last Wednesday. His pitch count for that next step has yet to be decided.

Brett Anderson (fractured left index finger) remains likely to return shortly after the All-Star break as he progresses on his rehab assignment as well. This flush of good news had manager Walt Weiss optimistic for the second half considering he's been scrambling for starting options since the calendar flipped to June.

"It looks like we're starting to get multiple guys back at the same time," Weiss said. "They're not coming back at exactly the same time but they're trickling in here. It will be good to get everybody back."

Christian Bergman (left fractured trapezium) will also participate in a live batting practice session with Butler on Tuesday. But he is ineligible to return from the disabled list until Aug. 20.