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Saturday Rockpile: Tulowitzki nearing rehab assignment, Fowler key to second half success

A couple of links for you as I revel in Dexter Fowler's terrific catch last night that earned him the #1 spot on Top Plays.

Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki could start rehab assignment next week | All Things Rockies
According to the Denver Post's Jim Armstrong, Troy Tulowitzki could start a rehab assignment sometime next week. Tulo is progressing very well and took some batting practice yesterday, leading Jim Tracy to believe that he is close to being ready. My best guess would be that Tulo is still about three weeks away from coming back and while he may not be at full strength when he does return, but it will still be a nice boost for the club considering how they respond around him. My only real hope in this situation is that he is not rushed; when he comes back, I know he'll be effective, so I'm not as worried about that. The club just needs to play this one smart.

MLB: Dexter Fowler, Carlos Beltran, Buster Posey and other key players for NL's second half - ESPN (Insider Only)
R.J. Anderson, who you may know from Fangraphs, has an Insider article up on that details the ten key players for the second half in the National League. Colorado's Dexter Fowler heads that list (although I'm not sure if it was meant to be in a particular order or not), and here's what Anderson had to say:

The Rockies' former top prospect offers a blend of speed and on-base savvy perhaps unseen since Kenny Lofton. Despite a legitimately horrible UZR in 2009 (minus-16.2 runs), Fowler is a better defender than right fielder Brad Hawpe. Assuming Fowler can cut down on the strikeouts (nearly 30 percent rate right now), the switch-hitter should be able to secure a full-time position, which would knock Hawpe to first base, removing the toasty Todd Helton from the equation while instantly improving the Rockies' defense and lineup.


I'll try to get a few more links up as the morning progresses. Not a lot out there at the moment, though. In the meantime, let's try our absolute best to keep it baseball-related in the comments, eh dudes/babes?