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, bringing out a model featuring black and purple.
The shoes, maybe even more than the purple pinstripe uniform, is going to 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 before the game. “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, lacing a single between short and third in his first at bat. The crowd acknowledged the hit with a steady round of applause.
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 trailed San Francisco by 6 1/2 games heading into the night. Ellis already has this in common this his teammates: Both share a passion to beat the Giants.
“That’s my goal. We’re 6 1/2 games back, I looked in the paper,” Ellis said. “That’s definitely a good team, and it will be fun to compete against them.”
Venturing around the clubhouse Friday, Ellis ran into familiar faces everywhere he turned. He once was teammates in Oakland with closer Huston Street and first baseman Jason Giambi.
Any secrets he can reveal?
“I could give you a lot of dirt on Street, but Jason would probably tell you dirt on himself,” Ellis chuckled.
Ellis had plenty of mixed emotions departing Oakland. But given all the stars who have left town in recent years, he wasn’t completely surprised by the move.
“I kind of figured something was going to happen in Oakland. Somebody asked me yesterday if I expected to get traded, and when you don’t get traded for 10 years, you don’t really expect to get traded, but I kind of anticipated it a little bit,” Ellis said. “It was a tough day. It was sad. You spend all that time with people and it’s tough.
“I wanted to get here as soon as possible and start this new chapter. I was excited when I heard it was Colorado. If I had to leave Oakland, this was one of the spots, if not the spot, that I wanted to go.”
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