- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2011

DENVER (AP) - For nearly a decade, Mark Ellis dutifully followed the rules in Oakland by donning white shoes.

Now with the Colorado Rockies, the veteran second baseman got a little more colorful with his cleat selection, borrowing a black-and-purple pair from Troy Tulowitzki.

The shoes, maybe even more than the purple pinstripe uniform, will take some getting used to as the longtime Oakland infielder settles into his new life in the Mile High City.

The Rockies acquired Ellis, along with cash, from the Athletics on Thursday for minor league pitcher Bruce Billings and a player to be named later.

Ellis made his debut with the Rockies on Friday night against the Kansas City Royals. He was playing second base and batting second in the order.

And looking snazzy in those colorful cleats.

“It’s funny not seeing white shoes. You look down and you’re always used to white shoes,” Ellis said. “But it’s nice.”

He’s hoping a change of scenery can break him out of a season-long slump. Ellis hit .217 with one homer and 16 RBIs in 62 games with the A’s.

He’s off to a solid start, finishing a triple shy of the cycle Friday and driving in three runs.

“It’s been a whirlwind couple of days,” said Ellis, who hit a two-run homer in the fifth. “Just see the ball and hit the ball. That’s what I try to do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”

The Rockies are counting on Ellis to bring stability at second base, something the team has lacked all season. They’ve trotted out Chris Nelson, Jonathan Herrera, Eric Young Jr. and Jose Lopez, who’s since been let go.

On Friday, Colorado sent both Nelson and Young back to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

The job belongs to Ellis.

“This is a proven major league player with a proven resume _ a very, very capable guy,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “I don’t know how this is going to play out, but I do know this: For us to go out and make an acquisition like this as early as it has been done, I’ve seen situations like this play themselves out where it ends up being an incredible shot in the arm for a ballclub.”

Colorado definitely needs a boost. The Rockies trail San Francisco by 6 1/2 games. Ellis already has this in common this his teammates: Both share a passion to beat the Giants.

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