New York Yankees: Tulowitzki’s come back is 2019’s feel good story

Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto Blue Jays. New York Yankees. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto Blue Jays. New York Yankees. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

It’s very early in spring training, but New York Yankees free agent infielder Troy Tulowitzki already had a highlight moment.

In biblical terms, New York Yankees infielder Troy Tulowitzki could be the modern-day Lazarus. After two injury-riddled seasons, he was left for dead at the end of the 2018 season by the Toronto Blue Jays. The former all-star shortstop missed all of 2018 after surgery to remove bone spurs on both his heels. It didn’t help his cause that he only played 66 games the season before due to injury.

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The Jays decided to let him go in December despite the fact he had a guaranteed $14M contract for 2019, and a $4M option for 2020. They figured his career was close to done and it was better for the team to cut its losses. That may have been a premature move.

Knowing that their starting shortstop Didi Gregorius would be out for at least half the season after “Tommy John” surgery to his elbow, Yankees GM Brian Cashman decided to take a flyer on the 34-year-old Tulowitzki. Even though Tulo will make close to $20M this season the Bronx Bombers are only on the hook for half-a-million, while Toronto pays the rest.

So far Tulowitzki has looked good in workouts. Monday, however, was game day. Albeit a spring training game day, but it was against his former team, Toronto. The ex-pat Blue Jay started at shortstop and led off.

Tulo goes yard

In his first at-bat against Major League pitching since July 28, 2017, Tulowitzki hit a home run. It wasn’t against some also-ran pitcher that will spend most of 2019 in the minors either. He went yard on Marcus Stroman, a quality big league hurler.

A little emotional, Tulowitzki spoke to the media after the game.

"“You guys know the story, you know what happened. No doubt about it, it was extra special. Basically, they told me I couldn’t play anymore,” he said. A lot of people said it’s only one day and a lot of people said I would never make it back on a baseball field again. There was extra emotion on that. It’s the biggest spring training home run I have ever hit."

It was a good first day at the new office for number 12. Yes, it’s spring training, but hey everyone has to start somewhere. At this stage, no one expects him to be a 30 homer shortstop again. If Tulowitzki can field the position like he did yesterday, hit .260 or so, and show a little pop, he’ll take some of the sting out of Gregorius’ absence. That’s all the New York Yankees really want from him.

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America loves a comeback story. This year the New York Yankees have a good one. Additionally, the team has a history of resurrecting good infielders later in their careers. Maybe Tulowitzki can have an Aaron Boone/ Scott Brosius/ Bucky Dent moment. It would be the perfect cap off to the story