Report: Blue Jays believe Tulowitzki could return before end of April

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons confirmed to's Jon Morosi on Tuesday that shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who's been dealing with a bone spur in his right heel all spring, will not be ready for Opening Day on March 29.

But while word of Tulo's Opening Day absence had already been widely anticipated before Tuesday, it's possible that his disabled-list stint could end up being shorter than initially thought. According to Morosi, the Blue Jays believe that Tulowitzki could still make his 2018 debut before the end of April.

The 33-year-old, who has dealt with a multitude of injuries as a big-leaguer, appeared in just 66 games for the Blue Jays last year and produced the worst offensive numbers of his 12-year career. He was hitting just .249/.300/.378 with seven home runs when a severe ankle sprain ended his 2017 season on July 28; that ankle injury apparently helped spur his current heel problem.

Tulowitzki hasn't played in a Grapefruit League game this spring, and told John Lott of The Athletic on Tuesday that the bone spur has impacted his mobility to the point that all he can do on the field right now is take batting practice and standing ground-ball drills, with the grounders hit directly to him.

Tulowitzki couldn't put an exact timetable on his possible return.

"I can't play right now. It's painful," he said, according to Lott.

The Blue Jays haven't named their Opening Day shortstop yet, but they have plenty of options to choose from. Aledmys Diaz, formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals, and super-utility man Yangervis Solarte are considered the primary candidates to win the starting job. Defensive specialist Gift Ngoepe, who does have minor-league options remaining, could also become a possibility to make the team, perhaps in a backup role.

Report: Blue Jays believe Tulowitzki could return before end of April
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