Tulowitzki dedicating this season to cousinPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will dedicate the 2010 season to Lexy Winters, a cousin who died of skin cancer.
"I think this year, I'm kind of going to really play for him," Tulowitzki said Thursday. "He's going to be in the back of my mind. I put his initials on my cap. That'll stay with me this season. Depending on some of the rules, I'm planning on wearing his initials in my eye black, as well. I don't know if they're going to cut things like that off. But those are my plans. Obviously, you play for your teammates and you love playing the game, but this one's kind of for him."
Tulowitzki said he'll return home to Sunnyvale, Calif., to attend a memorial service for Winters, who died late Monday night. The service has yet to be scheduled, and Tulowitzki said he wasn't sure how long he'd be gone from camp.
The 25-year-old Tulowitzki said that he has worked out with Winters, who was in his 40s, ever since he started going to a gym in high school. But this offseason was difficult because Winters was receiving treatment and could not work out.
"I told him I was going to put in double work, for him and for me," Tulowitzki said. "I felt like I did that, but every year, I think you find something that gets you to tick. And for me this whole offseason, that was it. Knowing he was battling and facing all the adversity, it made me want to work that much harder, because he would tell me how much he enjoyed watching my games and how much he enjoyed seeing me and what I've done since high school and where I'm at now.
"When he's looking down on me, I still want to make him happy each and every day and work my butt off for him," Tulowitzki added.
Tulowitzki, who wore a bright purple T-shirt during Thursday's optional workout for position players that read "Jesus Loves the Rockies," is in the process of organizing a foundation that will benefit cancer research. He wants to make sure the structure is in place for an organization that can be beneficial "if I don't become a good player."
The foundation will also aid cancer patients at the Children's Hospital in Denver, which Tulowitzki has assisted.
Tulowitzki overcame a typically poor April in 2009 to finish with a .297 average, 32 home runs, 92 RBIs and 101 runs scored while hitting cleanup. He made just nine errors and ranked second among National League shortstops with a .986 fielding percentage. He finished fifth in NL MVP voting.
NOTES: The Rockies will hold their first full-squad workout Friday followed by a meeting with officials of the Major League Baseball Players' Association, including new executive director Michael Weiner. ... Melvin Mora and Jay Payton worked out for the first time. Mora arrived with five gloves. He's ready to play third base, second base, shortstop and the outfield and is likely to get work at first base after the exhibition season is well underway. Payton, an outfielder who played for the Rockies in 2002-2003, missed the entire 2009 season after tearing his right labrum lifting weights and undergoing surgery. Signed to a minor league contract, Payton, 37, realizes he is an insurance policy on a team flush with outfielders. ... Twelve pitchers will combine to work eight innings for the two teams in an intrasquad game Monday. Left-hander Jimmy Gobble, signed to a minor league contract, is the only one of the 12 with major league experience.
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