NYY@COL: Helton's two-run dinger ties the game at 2

ST. LOUIS -- Manager Walt Weiss called the team's offensive struggles during a 2-4 homestand against the Rays and Yankees "unacceptable" after Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Bombers. Before Friday's opener of a three-game set with the National League Central-leading Cardinals, he reminded his hitters how good they can be.

"Whenever we do our scouting meeting [at the start of each series], I'll talk a little bit about the upcoming series and maybe touch on the series we just got done playing," Weiss said. "I touched on a few things that I saw this homestand, but nothing major. A lot of it just comes down to us remembering who we are as a club and how we play the game."

In the two losses to the Rays, the Rockies went 0-for-18 with runners in scoring position. Against the Yankees, Jorge De La Rosa's strong six innings helped the Rox to their first shutout of the season, and Colorado pitching gave up three runs in each of the next two games, but the hitters could not come through. The Rockies usually count on scoring big at Coors Field.

No matter where, Weiss reminded the Rockies, they need to have smart at-bats.

"There are times over the course of the game where the game will dictate what you have to do in the box," Weiss said. "I thought we got away from that at times. The game may call for you to attack the big part of the field or lead off an inning a certain way. I thought our awareness and our focus got away from that a little bit.

"I was just reminding them of things they already know but things we have to be reminded of from time to time."

Sore neck keeps Cuddyer out of starting lineup

TB@COL: Cuddyer's solo shot puts Rockies on the board

ST. LOUIS -- Michael Cuddyer, unable to turn his head for the past two days because of a disk problem in his neck, was not in the Rockies' starting lineup for Friday night's opener of three games against the Cardinals.

"This is something I've dealt with since 2004," Cuddyer said. "When this happens, it locks me up. I can't turn my neck and it makes it very difficult to play."

Manager Walt Weiss classified Cuddyer's availability as "day to day." The issue prevented the Rockies from using him Thursday during a 3-1 home loss to the Yankees. That was an important absence. Cuddyer is hitting .319 with seven home runs, eight doubles and 23 RBIs in 31 games.

Cuddyer skipped batting practice Friday to undergo treatment on the neck, with the hope of having him available off the bench. Eric Young Jr. started in right field in Cuddyer's place.

Cuddyer was with the Twins when his neck problems began. The issue never forced him to the disabled list. With the designated hitter rule in the American League limiting the need for position player substitutions, Cuddyer could ride out the times when he couldn't play.

The National League doesn't allow for a non-functioning player, but Cuddyer said the hope is that he can avoid a trip to the DL.

It's not going to be anything that's going to be a lingering effect," Cuddyer said. "If it's not better in a couple of days, then obviously we will try some other treatments."

Oswalt goes three frames in extended spring game

ST. LOUIS -- Veteran three-time All-Star pitcher Roy Oswalt, who signed a Minor League contract with the Rockies on May 2, threw three innings and displayed decent fastball velocity Friday during his first extended spring training outing in Arizona.

Oswalt threw 43 pitches over three innings. He didn't have much help defensively, as his team committed three first-inning errors. He gave up four runs (one earned) on five hits, with no walks and two strikeouts.

According to FoxSports.com, which obtained Oswalt's contract information, Oswalt will receive $15,000 per month in the Minors and will earn a pro-rated portion of a $2.3 million Major League salary. If he is not on the Rockies' roster on June 18 or June 28, he can request his release if not added to the roster within 72 hours.

The 35-year-old will also receive a $400,000 bonus once added to the Major League roster, plus incentives that can bring him a max of $1.35 million for 18 starts and $1.25 million for 110 innings pitched. He'll get $250,000 each when he reaches eight and 10 starts, and $200,000 each for starts 14, 16 and 18. The contract also calls for $100,000 for 50 innings pitched, $150,000 for 60, and $200,000 each for 70, 80, 90, 100 and 110.

Pitching coach Wright to miss Cardinals series

ST. LOUIS -- Pitching coach Jim Wright will miss the entire three-game series against the Cardinals to attend to a family matter, the Rockies announced.

Assistant pitching coach Bo McLaughlin worked from the dugout in Wright's place, and catching instructor Jerry Weinstein was in the bullpen with the relievers.

Additionally, Pedro Astacio, a standout pitcher for the Rockies from 1997-2001 who remains the club leader in complete games (14) and is in the top 10 in several categories, joined the club Friday. Astacio was a special instructor during Spring Training, and he had planned to join the club in St. Louis to work with pitchers as they prepared for games.